HR leaders are re-evaluating termination policies in the wake of a Chicago-area workplace shooting that left five dead.
An investigation of the February shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Ill., showed the shooter was a 15-year employee who pulled a gun the day of his termination. The company's HR director and a first-day HR intern were among those killed.
Carol Brzowski, writing for Workplace, interviewed HR and security experts who provided guidelines on how to prepare for and manage the discharge of an employee:
- Use advance verbal and written warnings of unacceptable performance to allow employee a chance to correct their behavior
- Plan terminations at the end of workday when fewer co-workers are present, minimizing potential embarrassment
- Evaluate the risk of an outburst or violent reaction, have security personnel alert and accessible if warranted
- Keep the meeting brief and focus on paperwork such as the termination letter and to-do items involving benefits or insurance, if appropriate
- Hold the the meeting in a safe, unisolated, neutral area. Leave the door open and do not turn your back on employee
- If employee becomes threatening, remain calm and excuse yourself saying you need to speak to supervisor to address his concerns
For a comprehensive view, consider our March 20 training, Termination & Performance Management.
For a recorded option you can use now, take a look at Employee Termination Done Properly, which contains guidelines and step-by-step instructions for handling this human resources challenge.