How Should Businesses Handle Hostile Terminations?
While no one wants to be in the situation of firing a potentially hostile or disgruntled employee, these circumstances arise in many workplaces. Do you have a plan for when it happens at your business? Or better yet, to prevent it from happening in the first place?
You might expect an employee to act upset or lash out for many reasons. Perhaps they've shown a pattern of abusive or violent behavior. Or, maybe you expect them to be surprised by the news.
Keeping yourself and others safe at the workplace is vital. To help you handle this type of situation safely, Unparalleled Security has put together this guide on how to address a hostile termination.
Step 1: Keep the Meeting Private
No matter the reason for letting someone go from their job, it's best not to do so in public in front of other employees. Hold the meeting in an area away from most of the business operations, and be sure it's a quiet area where a discussion can be held.
If you're worried an employee will be upset at the news of their termination, choosing the right meeting place is essential. You don't want to embarrass them further or give them reasons to lash out at others.
Step 2: Ensure There's Another Person in the Room
When you're firing someone, keeping things private is important. However, for the safety of all involved, it's best to have at least two managers or HR representatives there. You don't want to be alone with an employee who might get mad at you.
And, if you expect the worst or are worried about your safety, hire a security guard to be in the room with you during the firing process.
Step 3: Prepare Ahead of Time
While it can be challenging to predict how someone will react when they are fired, it's best to over-prepare for an adverse scenario. Ensure you have an exit plan if things get dicey, and let any security teams or guards know what's going on.
If you expect things to go south, have plans to keep everyone in the building secure and safe.
Step 4: Consider a Risk Management Assessment
Individuals being laid off can feel threatened and may be more prone to violence, so running a risk management assessment can be helpful. The evaluation will allow HR to look at outcomes and scenarios and create solutions to prevent dangerous situations if an employee is a security threat.
It also lets them plan for temporary security guard support if they feel there is a big enough concern with specific employees.
5: Use a Neutral Party to Carry Out the Termination
Many situations can lead to letting an employee go; in the best-case scenario, they will accept the news with minimal distress. However, if specific individuals among management or executives have previous issues with the employee, it is recommended to have a neutral party deliver the news.
A neutral individual removes the risk of agitating the individual, and they may be able to de-escalate the situation if they become confrontational.
6: Be Respectful and Brief When Delivering the News
There are some scenarios where you gently break the news to an employee about to be terminated. Unfortunately, when you're dealing with a hostile individual, the last thing you want to do is try to make small talk.
When it's time to break the news, get right to the point and avoid going back and forth in conversation because this can give them an opportunity to become agitated or manipulate the situation.
7: Wait Until the Day is Over
It's never easy to deliver the news of termination, and while there's no specific science as to the best time or day of the week to accomplish the task, waiting until the end of the day can be one of the best options, especially for aggressive employees. For some individuals, first thing in the morning, everyone arrives at work, and if they have to pack up their things and say goodbye, it can cause extra stress that they would not be there at the end of their shift.
They may also have transportation issues, and if they use public transportation or rideshare with others, this can lead to an awkward experience and exacerbate the situation even more, so take time to weigh out their work behaviors before deciding when they will be let go.
Security Guards Provide Protection for Hostile Terminations
Hostile terminations are always upsetting and often scary. One of the best ways to ensure your safety and to keep other employees protected is to work with professional, licensed security guards and bodyguards.
At Unparalleled Security, we provide security services for all kinds of businesses in Minnesota. Call us today at 651-300-1515 or request more information through our online contact form.