updated 3:01 PM, Sep 16, 2022 Africa/Johannesburg
National and Regional Economically Active Population Profile QLFS Q3:2021
National and Regional Economically Active Population Profile QLFS Q2:2021
Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in certain workplaces as at 11 Ju
COVID19TERS Benefits as at 20 July 2021
Adjusted Level 3 Lockdown - 25 July 2021
Facilities Regulations, 2004
PoPIA Compliance: The Use and Processing of Data
Infor Becomes Founding Sponsor of The Smart Factory @ Wichita
Understanding the role of Temporary Employment Service providers in your organisation’s Health and S
Knowing the difference between Business Process Outsourcing and Temporary Employment Services may gi
A+ A A-

Fair and Final Firing: How to Make it Happen

Fair and Final Firing:

How to Make it Happen

Copyright © 2007 Wally Bock
Used with permission of the author (http://www.threestarleadership.com/bookreviewpermissionform.htm
Author: Wally Bock 
Email: wally@threestarleadership.com
Website: http://www.threestarleadership.com
13 December 2007

Lots of managers will tell you that you just can't fire people anymore. They think that every time you try to fire someone, you risk getting sued.

Fortunately, you can still get rid of non-performers, even in today's lawsuit-happy world. Start by doing a good job as the boss. If you do your job right you'll only fire people when it's necessary and you'll be able to defend your actions if you have to. Here's how.

Tell people what you want them to do and not do. Clear expectations are necessary to good performance.

Check for understanding. Don't trust communication to chance. Make sure that people understand what you tell them in the same way that you do.

Make small corrections along the way. An awful lot of good supervision happens in the cracks in the system. Most people who work for you will change their behavior if you suggest they do so.

If they don't change their behavior, make sure you understand the problem. What looks like a behavior problem might be a resource problem or a training problem. Make sure your people can do what you want before you hold them accountable for performance.

If your subordinate can do the job, but isn't, let him or her know that you're going to start documenting their behavior. That's not particularly difficult, but it takes time and diligence.

Make sure you document the behavior of anyone you might have to fire. Follow the basics of good documentation.

You document so that you can explain your decisions to other people at some time in the future. If your subordinate challenges your actions, that questioning can be aggressive and adversarial.

Document behavior. Behavior is what people say and what people do. Nothing else.

Describe the behavior using objective language. I call this the "Joe Friday Rule," just the facts. Leave out the adjectives.

Write up your documentation as soon after the behavior or counseling session as you can. Within 24 hours is good. Before you go home is better. Right away is best.

The closer you do your documentation to the behavior or incident you're describing, the more likely you are to remember details and get things right. And, the more likely you are to be able to defend your actions and descriptions later.

Include the important information. Who was involved? What happened? Include dates and times.

It's easier to do good documentation if you do it the same way every time. I recommend that you use a simple form to help you remember everything and develop good habits.

If you have to fire someone, take the time to review your reasons and the actions that led up to the firing. Refer to your documentation.

In today's world, no one can guarantee that you won't be sued if you fire someone. But if you do a good job as a boss, set clear and reasonable expectations, treat people fairly, and document behavior well you're more likely to avoid legal action and better able to defend yourself if you're hauled into court.

Wally Bock helps organizations improve productivity and morale, as well as deal with the challenges of massive Boomer retirements. He is the author of Performance Talk (http://www.performancetalk.com/). He writes the Three Star Leadership blog (http://blog.threestarleadership.com/), coaches individual managers, and is a popular speaker at meetings and conferences in the United States and elsewhere. Read more about him in his own words: http://www.threestarleadership.com/learnwally.htm and contact him at email: wally@threestarleadership.com and website: http://www.threestarleadership.com .  
Click here for more resources to help you deal with the challenges of the Boomer Brain Drain.
You may reprint or repost this article providing that the following conditions are met:

  • The article remains essentially unaltered.
  • Wally Bock is shown as the author.
  • The notice Copyright 2007 by Wally Bock or similar appears on the article.
  • Contact information for Wally is included with the article. You may refer readers to this Web site as a way to meet this requirement, or use the information on our contact page.

Any other reprinting or reposting requires specific permission which is almost always granted. Click here to request permission if necessary.

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/gwdhmoih/public_html/templates/gk_news2/html/com_k2/templates/default/item.php on line 176
Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
Login to post comments

HR Associations