Assignment 3: Dismissal Meeting
Dr. David Fountaine
Employees play the most important role in ensuring the success or failure of an organization. The success of an organization is a result of the employee’s commitment to performing at or above required performance levels, cooperating with others in the workplace, with their management as well as the public to ensure successful operations. In certain cases management has to take the difficult step of laying off workers for the benefit of the company as a whole. In these cases there is a procedure to the decision process which involves a management dismissal committee that acts based on guidelines specifically within that organization and its core values.
There are many reasons which may lead to an employee layoff. Some reasons include: introduction of new technology in the operations with the organization, such technology might lead to a job being simplified to the point that management finds that it no longer requires the same staffing levels, or technology introduced may require a special set of skills to operate and the existing employees may not possess those needed skills, causing the management to layoff those workers and recruit newer employees. Another potential reason for a layoff is that the employee is behaving in a way that is not in line with a particular moral code set out by the company or in some cases a layoff may be the result of the company running into financial problems which prevent it from carrying the same staffing levels. Regardless of the reason for a layoff, emotions after the layoff for existing employees and management have the potential to negatively affect the continued efforts of the company to be profitable and pursue its goals. By having a systematic and thoughtful approach to employee layoffs an organization takes steps to prevent negative impacts resulting from a layoff.
How managers can cope with negative emotions stemming from an employee layoff
One common negative reaction that results from an employee layoff in an organization is criticism. Criticism of a layoff is the directing of blame to the department or individual that participates in the dismissal process. The negative emotions surrounding an employee layoff can extend to the public, the remaining employees, or from other managers. Due to the possibility of negative emotion from multiple sources managers need to have multiple methods for coping with those emotions based on the source.
Negative emotion or criticism of a layoff from the public refers to any outside party that is not a part of the company, the government, a union representative or other individuals with specific interests within the company. The public may question the process taken leading up to the layoff and this may negatively impact the perception or goodwill in the eyes of that public. One way to combat this negative image from the public is to provide a detailed report that explains in detail the precise reasons for the employee’s layoff. In today’s modern information age it is very likely that false information will be spread after a layoff so it would behoove the firing manager to provide this detailed report and also a clear and easy method of acquiring the report. If the public can be properly educated as to why the employee was terminated it goes a long way in calming those heightened emotions felt by the public.
One group which may have negative emotions surrounding a layoff which is not commonly considered is other managers in the work place. It can incorrectly be assumed that all managers were a part of or approved of a layoff. If that manager had a personal connection with that employee laid off then they may have lasting negative emotions about that employees dismissal even if the process of the layoff was well defined and justified. To combat this a company can create an internal process in which prior to the layoff managers have the ability to present their plea to the organizations board so they at least feel they had the opportunity to have their voice heard.
Lastly and most commonly after the dismissal of an employee a group which might have the strongest negative emotions are the remaining employees. Employees that work together sometimes over extended periods of time tend to establish a strong tie and lasting relationships. A common thought process after having a coworker dismissed is fear that they may become the next victims to the layoff process. An effective manager will have considered this thought process prior to a layoff and will have a motivation program ready to implement directly after the layoff to boost morale. This program may include incentives, team building activities or simply making the managers more accessible. The main goal with this method is divert attention and emotion from the layoff to the continued success of the organization.
Step by step process of conducting the dismissal meeting
The dismissal of an employee is a volatile event that should be handled in a professional manner with a code of ethical standards in mind as well as the organizations regulations and core values. It is crucially important that the meeting be in a private place where the other employees may not be able to witness the event as this could enflame negative emotions as well as embarrass the employee being let go. In addition to location the timing should be strategic as well, most companies have adopted a method of conducting layoffs in the afternoon or after the employees have completed the majority of their tasks for that day. The management should also consider a method of sending the employee away without other employees around to watch. Within the actual dismissal meeting there should be at least one representative from the HR department with the firing manager and in some cases a lawyer representing the employee depending on prearranged agreements of employment.
In the actual meeting the HR manager should be direct and get straight to the point, the employee should know in the first few minutes of the meeting that they are being dismissed. There should be no debate or discussion of the dismissal committee in front of the employee and the employee should be informed that the decision is final and no other consideration would be considered. Again, in some cases there needs to be a specific detail of reasons behind the dismissal especially if legal proceedings are expected (Mathis and Jackson, 2011). It is not uncommon to have a counselor available to speak to the employee if needed. Lastly the meeting should be closed by having the employee return any property belonging to the company. Throughout the process it is important for the HR manager to remain courteous and professional so as to not offend the employee.
Compensation for separated employee
The compensation that a laid off employee may be entitled to depends on a legal, signed agreement between the employer and employee prior to hiring of that employee. Another factor is the status of the employee for instance if the employee is on a contract basis or if they were a permanent employee of the company. In these cases some of the compensation that the company may make for the employee includes, outstanding salary if terminated mid cycle prior to the salary release date, agree incentives depending on what incentives if any the employee is entitled to, job insurance dues if the employee had their job insured through an insurance company, and lastly outstanding dividends in the case that the employee had shares in the company as a part of their employment. Below the time to distribute this compensation is detailed in a pie chart, the time is represented in months. As we can see in the chart the accumulated incentives and salary are paid off the fastest, typically at the end of the current pay period or month, Next we see that dividends are paid off in an extended amount of months and insurance takes the longest amount of time to be compensated as there are legal procedures to be under taken prior to payment of insurance dues.
Three ways a layoff may affect a company
There are many ways that a layoff may affect a company, in particular there are three main areas of concern when it comes to the effects of a layoff, the reduction in labor, degradation of the image and reputation of the company, and conflict among the staff members. Each effect on the company needs to be considered in a different manner. Although as mentioned there are many impacts to a layoff these three effects are the most important and impactful and need to be addressed as quickly as possible to lessen the impact on the company’s performance.
Having skilled workers fulfilling important job functions within an organization is of the utmost importance to achieving those organizations goals. Employee’s performance determines the overall performance of a company and if not properly staffed an organization will consistently fall short of its goals and set performance indicators. A layoff reduces the amount of employees available to complete core tasks in the case that the layoff was not a result of being over staffed. The laying off of an employee creates a vacant space in the completion of certain tasks that the terminated employee completed prior to being asked to leave. Managers are tasked with ensuring that the tasks that have been vacated with the leaving of the employee are accomplished no matter what. This means that prior to the termination the manager must have a specific plan on how to address that vacancy.
In today’s modern age and with the increase of social media it is more vital than ever that a company maintains a good reputation within the community that it operates. Word of a bad reputation can travel faster now than ever before and can jeopardize the loyalty of customers to that company. This negative reputation can affect employees as well as customers. As customers may chance their preferences to other companies that fulfill a similar need employees may also shift their preferences in where they work and given the opportunity may leave the company to work elsewhere. As we can see here mishandling of a dismissal may ruin the reputation of a company and can therefore result in real costs to the company in employee turnover and loss of sales.
Lastly a major effect that can be felt as a result of a layoff is conflict amongst remaining staff members. Conflicts are almost guaranteed to occur if the dismissal process was not done with the inclusion of all members of the management board (Valentine, Mathis and Jackson, 2013). If a company can provide a united front to its employees on behalf of the management team it can take steps to reduce the internal conflict that occurs after the dismissal of a coworker. It is up to the management team to step in when there is conflict in the workplace to create an open discussion around the subject and ensure that all employee voices are heard.
At the end of the day a layoff within any company sets off a train reaction resulting in many and varied reactions both internally and externally. As with many aspects of a successful organization the dismissal process should be done in a transparent and explainable manner to avoid negative consequence of that action. Successful organizations know when it is time to dismiss an employee and follow the right steps for the dismissal of that employee to lessen the impact to the workplace. To be successful in the termination process the organization needs to address the compensation impacts as well as the impacts to the functionality of the company and the company’s image.
Mathis, R. & Jackson, J. (2011).Human resource management. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-western.
Valentine, S., Mathis, R. & Jackson, J. (2013).Human resource management. Australia: South-Western.
Armstrong, M. (2006).A handbook of human resource management practice. London Philadelphia: Kogan Page.