Reduce your risks with clear advice on terminating an employee
Terminating the employment of an underperforming, morale-sucking, troublesome employee is likely one of the hardest things to do as a business owner. It's also one of the riskiest.
You're fed up with the impact it's having on your team's cohesiveness, and now productivity is going downhill fast. You want them gone, right? Before you take drastic action and fire an employee, you need to carefully consider your position as an employer and your legal position.
I'll walk you through the risks of any options you have to legally exit this employee. We'll also work closely with an employment lawyer to make sure every angle is taken care of. Then, you can make an informed decision about how you'd like to proceed, and I'll stand by your side as you execute the plan.
Melissa provides a level of expertise to small businesses in a way that is affordable and proportional to the size and direction of the business.
Dr Ewen Wynne | Owner & Founder
Wynnes Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys
There’s no such thing as a quick fix
Here's the thing about terminating an employee the legal way. It's unlikely to happen overnight. I've worked with many business owners who, like you, are faced with the difficult decision to exit a member of their team. More often than not, it's an issue that's been swept under the rug for far too long. And now, you just want it to be done and dusted.
As your support in this situation, I won't tell you that it's going to be straightforward and you'll be back to normal in no time. That would be a lie. Instead, I’ll be honest with you and take you through the options. Firing an employee is not simple. In many cases, businesses don't have the right HR framework in place to support a smooth exit transition.
You don’t have to tackle this tricky situation on your own. We’ll do it together.
Review the situation
We’ll consider the situation from all angles and perspectives, including what actions have been taken to date.
Look at your HR framework
Now it’s time to consider what policies and procedures (if any) you have to help support an exit strategy.
Consider your options
With the help of an employment lawyer, we’ll consider the termination options available to you and the risks associated with each one.
Make a plan
Now you’re able to make an informed and supported decision on how you’d like to proceed with the termination of the employee.
The not-so-fun part starts now: we start the exit process. Don’t worry, I’m still by your side, ready to answer all your questions and concerns.
With the bad-egg gone, now is the perfect time to work on other areas of your business, like tightening your HR framework, recruiting a new team member or strengthening the team you have.
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Be confident that you’re making the right HR decisions for your business
Terminating an employee, for whatever reason, is likely to have a big impact on you personally, on your team and on your business. I'm here to take the guesswork out of what action to take next. As a leader, it's important to be firm, respectful, empathetic and, importantly, legal.
If you've already got a company employee handbook or termination policy in place, that's great. We'll definitely dive into them. We'll also pull together any past employee performance evaluations and issues that have been documented.
Now, if you don't have any of the above, it's okay. You still have options, and my job is to help you understand them so you'll have peace of mind that what you're doing is the right course of action for your business.
Exit Mini-Case Study
Size of business: 125 employees
A long-term employee who had a personal history with the business owner had been underperforming for over six months. Administrative processes weren’t being completed, and this was negatively impacting sales and other departments.
The client wanted help terminating an employee without an unfair dismissal claim. Information was gathered around the applicable award and the employee’s performance history, and further advice was provided during a consultation with an employment lawyer. Once the risks of each course of action were understood and weighed up, the client chose to implement reasonable KPIs and manage the underperformance. Exceler8 was right beside them and provided coaching throughout the difficult conversations.
Initially, the employee didn’t respond well to the change, but with consistent, fair and transparent communication and management, the employee realised they didn’t fit and resigned. The client was relieved that the employee came to this decision and feels more confident about tackling these issues head-on should they arise again.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, I can definitely help you navigate terminating an employee. It's a difficult situation but reaching out for help is a great first step. In my experience, busy business owners and leaders who are nervous or inexperienced with handling difficult people issues tend to avoid them altogether.
But you’re just delaying the inevitable. You are increasing the likelihood that the situation will become more volatile and have a far bigger impact than if it had been dealt with earlier.
If you’d like to know more about how I can help you, please get in touch with me, and let’s work through it together.
In these situations, it’s best not to disclose too much information. In fact, there may be legal ramifications for doing so. Communication to the team, and the timing of it, is all part of the plan we develop and work through, so you don’t have to worry.
Yes. After conducting a thorough review of the situation and your HR policies and procedures, we’ll talk to an experienced employment lawyer. Before you make the decision to exit an employee, you’ll be well briefed on the risks and legal ramifications (if any) of all options, and you will make the final, informed decision.
Growth starts with your
With practical HR advice and tailored coaching, I’ll personally support you and your people journey, so you can confidently take the next steps in your business.