Operations: Handling the Disgruntled Former Employee
Terminating employees is usually not an easy task, especially when emotions get involved. Some employees take it well, but some resort to extreme measures. These measures include threatening physical harm, legal action, or speaking negatively about the company.
So how do we avoid these potential damaging situations? Oftentimes you can’t. The only thing you can do is try your best to do right by the company, yourself and the former employee.
Terminating employees should be a last resort and thus, the following questions need to be addressed.
Does the employee have a clear expectation of the job duties? You can’t blame the employee for not performing a job duty if he doesn’t clearly know what to do. This needs to be coached on Day 1 of hiring him or her.
Does the employee know what type of demeanor is expected of him or her?
Unfortunately in this day and age, we as employers need to make our staff are aware of what is deemed inappropriate. For example, we had an employee talking to a member about their sex life thinking this was totally OK.
Has the employee already been spoken to regarding this situation, and how many times?
If Johnny continually leaves the gym a mess after we’ve spoken to him AND documented our conversations, then Johnny just isn’t a good fit for what we are looking for.
How many different issues have arisen with this employee since being hired?
We hired a manager for a gym and the minute he entered the building, the gym took a nose dive. There was drama, negativity and a lot of distrust. Not good things you want from your leader. Sometimes people are just bad news and need to be removed in order for your gym to flourish.
Once you’ve decided to terminate an employee, keep it as professional as possible. Clearly express why they are being terminated, backed up by documentation if appropriate. When things get ugly, and they very well could, keep a level head and don’t get sucked into a nasty verbal battle. Pay the employee what is properly owed to them. Don’t make it personal by intentionally withholding their pay. If you need to alter their final check, be sure to thoroughly explain why and put it in writing. If things get intense bordering on harassment, tell them to cease all communication and if they want to continue to speak to you then it needs to be done through an attorney.
However, if you’re a revolving door of employees then you need to take a hard look at yourself — because you might be the underlying problem. You’re either hiring the wrong people to start with or you’re not properly training and developing them. You need to be open minded and willing to change if you want your business to grow.
Don Suarez is the manager of The HitFit Gym. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.