You got into the education business to grow, develop and nurture young professionals. Your visions of mentoring both students and educators and helping them towards achieving their goals probably didn’t include the dirty details of management. However, the reality is you will eventually have to ‘let someone go’ for a variety of reasons.
It’s a gut-wrenching conversation as you are not only impacting that persons livelihood, self esteem and career, it impacts your team work assignments and the overall business morale. This is especially true in the hair and beauty industry when we are working with so many creative individuals, who wear their passion and emotions on their sleeves. It’s no wonder this emotionally charged situation is loathed, avoided and can often go wrong. We gathered these top tips from HR executives to help you keep your head level and your wits about you.
Don’t Avoid the Problem
If you have a problem with an employee, they should be counseled appropriately leading up to the exit. Parting ways should be the last step in a careful, thoughtful, and open process that will have you looking as caring, transparent and ethical. You don’t want to fire anyone, and no one wants to be fired, so you never know when a separation could have been avoided simply by regular performance reviews and discussions. If not, then the employee will have had the opportunity to emotionally adjust and you can feel like you gave all the opportunities available to make it work.
When you do sit down with the employee to have the conversation, make sure you’ve done your homework so that all logical questions can be covered like official end date, transition periods, handover expectations, severance pay, etc. You don’t want to have to conduct a second conversation like the one at hand, so make sure you are able to provide all the details you need. If necessary, seek HR counsel before having the discussion or even have an HR representative at the meeting if they are available to you.
Be ready to receive the worst and steel yourself to not react. Remember the employee is likely to feel attacked and overwhelmed by the news, even if you did your best to prepare them. Be neutral and as kind and understanding to the onslaught of emotions as you can and try to redirect the conversation to the practical aspects of the process.
Hold a Team Meeting
After your meeting with the employee, you need to get the rest of the team onboard. Within your limits of confidentiality, discuss the departure with each employee that is impacted and go over how this will impact them. The purpose of this step is to allow the other members of your staff to come to an understanding about something that potentially rocked their ship (even if slightly) and to ultimately re-focus them back on their work.
And remember, chin up. This is the reality of running a business and you are ultimately firing this employee for a reason – to make the working environment better for everyone else.