HOW TO FIRE AN EMPLOYEE (WITH INTEGRITY)

I didn’t finish post-secondary university to earn my business degree (BA) nor do I have an MBA.

I don’t believe either teach you how to properly fire someone. Whether they do or not, many people I know leading companies and teams haven’t properly been taught how to either.

When I read Bob Iger’s book he outlined his philosophy on how to fire someone. 

bob iger, ride of a lifetime, employee engagement, customer experience, company culture, disney, walt disney
Bob Iger’s Book: The Ride of a Lifetime

In his book, he says:

“There is no good playbook for how to fire someone, I have my own internal set of rules.”

This got me thinking about my own set of rules on how to offboard employees.

I like to follow five key steps:

1. This Shouldn’t Be a Surprise

When an employee is let go they shouldn’t be surprised by the decision. At this point, they should have already received verbal and written warnings of their poor performance. 

Having each infraction document is crucial, not only for employee legal reasons but also for the employee’s awareness that their employment with your company may soon be in question.

If the infraction is grave, such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse, then the termination should happen immediately after your investigation into the matter.

If your employee is genuinely surprised by your decision then I would argue that you have mismanaged this person.

2. Have A Sign-Off Sponsor For All Hires

I like to have another person within my team also sign off on the termination. More often than not, someone else on your team will also agree with your decision. However, if you can’t find someone to agree with you then perhaps the issue may be with you. Perhaps, you’ve mismanaged this person or you aren’t seeing something others are.

If you’re able to find another person to agree with you then this person should also be invited to the termination meeting. Hopefully, the termination will not lead to legal issues but, if it does, then this person will act as your support if it leads to a “he said, she said” scenario.

3. Say It Immediately

As soon as the door is closed to the meeting the person being terminated should know within ten seconds that the reason this meeting is happening is that they are being let go.

No chit chat. No extended pleasantries. Get to the point immediately with confidence.

If this is the first time you’ve let someone go you may be nervous. Don’t let your emotions or nerves get the best of you. More often than not, they will if you don’t get straight to the point.

4. Provide Examples

If the employee knows why they are being fired then it’s not likely that you will have to defend your decision with concrete examples.

However, it’s always a good idea to at least generally (not needing to get into fine details unless asked) speak to why they are being let go.

Some HR professionals may tell you that this is not a good idea because there can be legal ramifications used against you in court if you say the wrong thing. My opinion is that if you’re going to get sued for firing someone then you should be confident in your decision and be ready to defend your reasoning inside and outside of court.

I’m not scared to be sued by someone I let go because I know that we did it with integrity and followed the rules.

5. Be Fair and Compassionate

I wouldn’t suggest firing someone before a holiday or their birthday, it’s just not the right thing to do. However, there can be circumstances (they are seriously going against your company values, theft, and other serious misconducts) that you can’t work around and need to consider the business and your other employees.

If an employee is let go I do like to give them a very fair severance, not just the bare minimum. After all, you would want someone to do the same for you if you were in their position. At the end of the year, when you’re setting your operating budgets, you should have a GL code on your P&L for severance. After all, no company is perfect and you will have to let some team members go.

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

Why Improving Your Interview Process Will Ignite Your Customer Experience (3 Proven Tips)

Your company doesn’t have a customer experience problem…YOUR COMPANY HAS A HIRING PROBLEM!

This is the message that I hammer home in this video. If you’re having trouble providing a great customer experience, your organization may have members that aren’t a culture fit.

Watch the video above or read the transcript below

In this video, I’m going to share my ironclad interview process which has helped my company deliver a legendary customer experience. Stay tuned to the end because I’m going to take you through my six-step interview process to find customer-centric team members.

My industry is hospitality. Maybe yours is telecom, retail, or dentistry. Regardless of your industry, the thing that we share in common is that we must deliver an amazing customer experience to beat our competition. Another thing that we share in common is we must be two things. We must be product and people-centric. In order to be people-centric, we must properly recruit and onboard customer-centric employees.

What is hospitality known for? Well, it’s known for a couple of things, one of which delivering an amazing customer experience is a must have, not a nice to have. The other thing that it’s recognized for is high employee turnover. Knowing this, I knew I needed to create a solution and process to be able to overcome this challenge. So I created a six-step interview process. Now whether you’re in hospitality or not, this six-step interview process has been adopted by companies in many different industries around the world after I’ve presented it to them during my keynotes and my private workshops.

“You see, your company doesn’t have a customer experience problem. You have a hiring problem.”

Every company has some sort of hiring or interview process, but based on my 10 years of experience, what I’ve recognized is that too many organizations are putting too much emphasis on the skillset and identifying if the individual that they’re interviewing can do the task at hand.

Yes, hiring for skillset is absolutely important, but just as much as you evaluate skillset, you must understand if the candidate is customer-centric, because you want to know if that potential employee knows how to care about a stranger. Yes, I said do they know how to care about a stranger? When you hire new employees, you are asking them to deliver an experience to someone they do not know. Ultimately, that’s asking them to take care of a stranger. Of course, you hope that they build such great rapport that that strengthens the relationship, but for someone to do this each and every day authentically, it requires them to have something that I call people-first DNA.

How do you measure whether that candidate will be able to take care of a stranger? Well, there are a few things that I coach my management team on to be able to identify this. The first is when you call them for their phone interview, how do they answer their phone? Do they sound excited to hear from you? Do they have a lot of questions? Is their enthusiasm high? Next, I’ll ask a customer-centric related interview question, and it goes like this. I say, “Tell me of a time when an organization delivered an experience that you have never seen before,” and allow them to elaborate. Pay attention to how detailed they are. Were they able to name the employee who delivered that great experience? Ask them how that made them feel.

Now, here is a bonus interview question:

Ask,  “what is the temperature of the sun?”

Now, the answer’s irrelevant, but what you want to pay attention to is how does the candidate answer a question that they do not know the answer to? As consumers, how many times have you been in a department store or a grocery store and asked an employee a question that they didn’t know the answer to? Did they go out of their way to find that answer, or did they simply just look at you blankly and say, “I don’t know”?

If the candidate says, “I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ll find out for you,” move on to the next question. If they send you an email later that day and say, “Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with your company. By the way, the answer to your question is X. Thank you very much,” I would highly consider hiring that candidate because that’s exactly how they’re going to behave when your customers inevitably ask them a question that they do not know the answer to.

There you have it. That is how you can improve your company’s customer experience by refining your interview process. Your organization’s customer experience will begin to improve when you make the decision to only hire customer-centric individuals who have a people-first DNA.

I want to hear from you. Answer this question in the comment section. What is the most unique interview question you’ve ever been asked or have heard? Thank you so much for watching. If you’re interested in learning about my keynote speeches or my private workshops to improve your company culture, customer experience, and employee engagement, head over to MichelFalcon.com, and I will see you next time.