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Cooperation with a worker during discharge

HRD-Ukraine, № 7(238), 2013

Article written by Evghenia Khvostova

Senior Consultant of NRG Company

Фото Хвостова Евгения

Evghenia Khvostova
Senior Consultant of NRG Company

The reputation of company in the market and its investment attraction are the main factors of every business. The support and development of good reputation is very necessary for communication with co-workers during discharge. Some HR-managers and directors speculate that termination interviews are not vital, since a worker has decided to leave the company, thus in any case, he/ she will do it. However, it is important to conduct an interview during the firing. It will help an employer to find out what is good, what is bad, and on what he/ she should work on.

The discharge of a worker can be caused by emotional disorders, troubles, and frequently by conflicts. It is crucial that two sides save their name and solve difficult situations.

There are two possible reasons for firing:

1. An employee makes decision to leave the company on his/ her own.

2. Company management decides to fire an employee (e.g. staff reduction).

In the first case, it is important to clarify the reasons and motives why an employee has decided to fire. Were they emotional or objective? Thus, it is important to build conversation based on the above information. For instance (the first case of firing), in one international FMCG-company a chief financial officer (CFO) has decided to change his workplace into another analogous positions, but in other international company. During a termination interview with a General-Manger, it was found out that there were some moments that did not satisfy the needs of CFO: a big amount of work (holding of more than one office, such as book-keeping in selling direction, marketing, and manufacture), lack of automation of business processes and professional development. CFO left the company. However, after his firing, the structure of business was revised; an accounting department was expanded; a new position of the deputy of CFO was added; and a new work of applying ERP system was launched.

Discharge of a valuable worker could be avoided in case of good communication inside of the company, but not in the case of taking decision referring to firing.

There are several reasons when an employer takes decisions to fire an employee:

• Lack of employee’s professionalism.

• Lack of motivation.

• Employee’s bad influence of staff.

• Disrespect to employer.

• Divergence of company’s mission with inner employee’s stereotypes/ principles.

• Staff reduction.

All employers think differently about personnel turnover in their companies. Somebody apprehends it as personnel offence and behaves emotionally, while others think about this problem with reserve and scrupulousness. In any cases, CEO could not have indifferent attitude to the difficult situations with personnel.

There are mass discharges during a new company’s lifecycle. In this case, the company can optimize the number of staff employees and gain the possibility of getting new source of “true blood” from the external market in the form of new workers and development of young talents on the positions of managers from the personnel reserve. Those who are under staff reduction keenly felt this situation. Good communication is a vital step that should be taken in order to inform a worker about the reasons of firing, criteria of selection, compensation and prospects of their returning to the company. It is necessary to be at most honest, open, respectful, and tactful during conversation with a reduced employee.

For example, domestic company conducted a global reorganization of business in order to improve business rate. This influenced not only reduction, but also mass discharge on manager’s initiative. There was no communication with employees in this organization. Negative attitude to this company in the labor market was caused by personnel “purge”. During conversation, the worker who left this company pointed out their dissatisfaction of previous managers and politics of employer in relation to personnel. Besides this, previous workers broke the line of confidentiality, thus news leak referring conduct of business occurred. This situation caused complexity in the process of attraction and hiring of new employees, since they were concerned about the repetition of similar company’s actions relative itself. The organization had to pay much attention to communication and clarification with candidate at the stage of selection of personnel in order to solve difficulties. Serious attitude to the selection process helped to persuade many specialists approving an offer; but a developed approach of communication with workers during firing could significantly improve further process of selection.

It is necessary to pay attention to the following stages during termination interview:

• There is a possibility that a discharged employee is more loyal to an employer and he could not want to burn his bridges, while he could wish he returned back. Besides this, previous employee could have a necessity to ask for references or to become an out-off staff consultant of the company.

• Decision referring to discharge is not always objective, sometimes it is emotional. It is a possibility to keep candidate during termination interview with the help of call upon common sense to stay in the company.

If a worker has a job offer at this time, his manager could make a counter offer. It means improvement of compensation (possibly, position) of a worker at present work at the same moment when he gets an offer from a new employer.

Lately, outplacement becomes service in demand. It is often used by international companies so as to avoid negative feedbacks in the labor market during discharge of employee. Outplacement directs to smoothing of negative firing consequences including consultation of discharged employees and their help in the future job placement.

Using this service, an employer reduces his time spending of juridical and staff questions, saves his positive image in the labor market and in the eyes of previous employee. Thus, discharges colleague feels support from the company’s side and loyalty to it. For example, a prominent pharmaceutical company decided to replace marketing director after the integration processes. This company avoided negative information with the help of outplacement. The employee had got help during interview, writing a resume, and participation in the analogical positions in other international companies. The question was decided positively for both sides: the worker got job placement and previous employer saved company’s image due to demonstration of no indifference to career of ex-worker.

Moreover, out staff could be a variant of deciding the problem. The company has a possibility to reduce a number of staff without changes in factual number; to relieve its juridical responsibility during the work with personnel; to transfer perplexing issues and negotiations connected with discharge of a worker to a juridical employer; to save a positive image of the company in the labor market and in the eyes of worker.

Such service could be interesting for the companies with a big number of personnel, temporary workers of seasonal works, limitation of staff number; for control of candidates during probationary period; substitution of permanently absent workers. The company is an actual employer, not a juridical one; in this case, provider of consulting services takes responsibilities, termination interviews connected with firing.



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