How to Handle Poor Employee Performance and Terminations

Perhaps the most dreaded topics, poor employee performance management and terminations are crucial to a well-performaing business. Here are our tips.

how to improve performance reviews and terminations

There are times in many businesses when tough conversations and decisions need to be made. Managing poor employee performance and terminations are examples of these delicate situations. Here’s how to properly handle RIFs, Performance Management, and Terminations.

Understand the Needs of the Business

The first thing to consider is the business needs and the driving factors for the layoff. Identify the people and skills needed to continue functioning as a business after the layoff. Layoffs aren’t always done to trim the fat or reduce low performing employees, but sometimes necessary depending on the core competencies of the business.

Identify Top Performers

Start with a performance management program to identify your top performers, their skill sets, and key attributes. It’s easier to make decisions when you can analyze an individual’s performance over time along with specific strengths, and weaknesses.

Be Aware of Employee Discrimination

Keep in mind that although it may not be your intention, the employee you plan to terminate could be a part of a protected class. This means that the individual may have a specific marital status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or something else that makes him or her protected from discrimination by law. These laws vary between states.

Keep in mind that although it may not be your intention, the employee you plan to terminate could be a part of a protected class.

Having solid performance metrics to review is very important to avoid these tough situations. This means that it’s good to have objective metrics to point to demonstrate clearly why the individual is no longer a good fit for that role. This is another good reason to have a clear performance management system within your company to track these metrics and make sure the employee is receiving real-time feedback for his or her behavior.

Preparing for Termination

Going into a layoff is a very stressful time for both employees and leadership teams and requires quite a bit of planning. Prepare for the logistics by understanding who will be where and who will do what at each moment during a round of layoffs. Determine who will deliver the message, the location for termination, and the materials needed. It’s critical to have the right answers and resources on hand for the employees going through this process.

After breaking the news, an employee will have several questions, which they may not remember the answers to once they get home. Presenting the right resources will help them get answers to issues related to severance, and post-employment procedures after the decision’s been made.

Next Steps

Think about the communications you’re going to present to the people staying with the company after layoffs. Communicate the changes made with your workforce and help them understand why the actions were taken. Set expectations for what to expect moving forward to create safety and security for these individuals.

These are just a few of the most common topics that come up when learning to understand terminations and reductions in force. For more information on performance improvement plans and termination management, check out our blog. And watch the head of Zenefits’ HR Advisor Services explain more about employee termination below.

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