With every new hire there is the potential that the employer may have to terminate that hire in the future due to circumstances which may or may not be within the employer’s control. Such terminations can be very expensive and damaging to the organization if not managed properly.
The key to managing the risk of expensive and damaging terminations is about prevention and process!
The best prevention is to have a solid foundation in human resource practices:
- Enter into easy to understand written contracts with all of your employees before they start, which would include, in the context of this discussion, a defined job description and expectations, a probationary period and termination provisions, including a defined notice period in the event of a termination without cause. It is also very important that your employment contracts comply with the applicable employment standards legislation to ensure their enforceability.
- Have a clear and easy to understand employee policy and procedures manual and require your employees to read it and understand it, and make it easily accessible to all. Where possible, the policy manual should be incorporated into the employment contract by reference.
- Apply all polices in a fair and consistent manner to all staff. This also helps with keeping up staff morale and avoids condoning inappropriate behaviour, which may come back to haunt the firm at a later date.
- Perform regular performance appraisals, refer back to expectations set out in the contract, and, in particular, consult and interact with the staff in question on matters which may require improvement.
- Have a defined process for handling poor performance and inappropriate behaviour. This process should include meeting with staff in question, defining the corrective action to take, clearly outlining the future expectations, offering assistance for improvement, outlining the consequences for non-improvement and documenting your efforts—establishing a paper trail will act as support for your corrective action, up to and including termination.
- The act of documenting will force you to confront the issue(s) and deal with the consequences of the actions you are contemplating. That being said, build flexibility into policies and avoid lockstep procedures and hard to follow policies.
- Obtain legal assistance in drafting policies and procedures that comply with applicable laws.
We conduct Managing Termination and Employment Standards Workshops in Vaughan out of our training centre. Please inquire regarding our next event date!