Putting the Human back in Human Resources

Anyone who has had to terminate an employee can’t help but
wonder if one day they will find themselves in a violent
situation with an angry former employee.

One of the best ways to minimize the likelihood of
workplace violence is to put in place systems to coach the
people who aren’t doing well.

But we all know that everyone can’t be saved. There are
just some employees who need to move on.

When managers find themselves in a situation where they
are forced to terminate an employee, the typical advice
has been to get to the point quickly, say as little as
possible, and get the employee out the door.

This is good advice from a legal perspective, but it often
leaves the terminated employee feeling angry and feeling
like he/she is a misfit.

There are different ways to handle these situations
and still remain “legal.” This is where the Human
Resource (HR) role can provide assistance.

In a recent article on Workforce Management, Kris Dunn
offered one alternative approach. Instead of rushing to
push the terminated employee out the door, try to focus on
helping the person using the following steps:

1. Communicate the termination decision.

2. Handle the Transactional details.

3. Transition to what’s next for the individual.

4. Be open enough to say that while it didn’t work out
here, there is a place out there that is a fit.

5. Give the person some resources for finding his/her next

6. Follow up in a week, 3 weeks, and then monthly until
the former employee lands a new role.

HR POINTER: Dunn’s advice is certainly one way to put the
“Human” back into Human Resources. This approach would be
very difficult to execute for the manager who terminated
the employee. However, this is an ideal role for a 3rd
party, such as HR.

Whether you call this approach outplacement or transition
advice, an HR professional can handle the difficult and
awkward discussions with a former employee about getting
over the pain of the termination and getting on with the
next phase of life.

Discussions about writing a resume, strengths, weaknesses,
interviewing strategies, doubts of inadequacy, personal
finances, etc. are all part of this more “Human” approach
to HR.

The objective of this and other similar approaches is to
genuinely help former employees move on, rather than brood
about the past or how others have “wronged” them.

Our firm provides this type of service informally when
requested and formally via our Outplacement Program. For
more information on Outplacement, click on the link below:

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