Many violent and even deadly terminations could have been avoided if managers had said and done the right things – and brought in the right authorities at the appropriate times.
Now more than ever, as economic news worsens and unemployment keeps climbing, the pressure, fear, and anxiety facing newly terminated workers could turn your next termination into something far, far worse.
Here are 11 steps to reduce the risk of violence and increase safety for you and your employees during a termination.
1. Pause before rushing into a termination.
2. Address the immediate safety concerns by evaluating and eliminating the risks as much as possible. In high-risk terminations we recommend taking the time to stabilize the situation by fulfilling due diligence and effectively using threat assessment procedures. If you are in doubt about the risk, hire an experienced outside consultant.
3. Planning occurs at every step of the process. The more dangerous the termination the more fluid the situation.
4. Choose a neutral environment for the termination such as a conference room. The room should have lots of windows, be closest to the entrance, and have minimal furniture.
5. Create a safe environment. Clear the table or desks of any objects that can be used as weapons (pens and pencils are also on this list of objects that could be used as weapons).
6. Have a male and a female in the room to handle the termination. Only one person actively communicates the termination, the second person does not participate but is there as a witness and to provide assistance if necessary.
7. De-personalize the situation. When/if possible, emphasize that the termination is about the position, not the person.
8. Control your emotions. Remain as neutral as possible and focus on the situation, not the person.
9. Ensure that all company property has been retrieved and that the employee’s property is being packed and inventoried. The employee should sign for their property and be given their personal belongings at the completion of the termination. Employees should not be allowed to return to their offices or work stations after termination.
10. Separate completely. Any termination process with a high risk individual should strive for a complete separation in which there is no opportunity to reestablish a relationship with the company.
11. Avoid the walk of shame! Respect the person’s dignity.
Terminations are never fun or comfortable. Follow these 11 steps to reduce the risks associated with terminations and move forward in a productive, safe manner.