But in a perfect world, the number would lower to zero. In the mean time, employees can do everything within their power to try to beat the odds. Downsizing and layoffs will happen, but terminations can be optional.
Here are tips to avoid the plunge.
Employees should document performance conversations with their managers: the good, the bad and the ugly. Managers who aren't strong leaders have a horrible habit of not communicating work performance concerns. This can lead the employee to wondering, "What'd I do wrong?" Tough conversations should be had when necessary, but if an employee does not have a candid manager, it is up to the individual to "manage up." Keeping copious notes (what went well, what could be done better, what are future goals) will help guide the dialogue between the employee and the manager. Most organizations have employees do a self-evaluation prior to the performance review process. If that is not the case, an employee should refer to work notes while having the discussion with the manager. Anxiety may be an issue during the evaluation process, but it's imperative to follow through.
How to React to Warnings
Employees must take a hard look at who they are and decide whether or not they are up to the task. The management team has to be shown that there is a willingness to learn and change behavior. Asking for mentorship and honest feedback from a trusted individual within the organization will help right the path. The other step is exceeding expectations. If a manager asks for a report on Friday, turning it in early will show there is a change in behavior. However, it is not a bad idea to be realistic if the warnings are piling up whether valid or invalid. Update resumes as a back-up plan. An employee who has heard the statement, "We have decided to go in a different direction" knows fully well that management planned a termination regardless.
There are a few signs that show an employee may be getting fired.
- An employee is no longer in the loop, and there is a lack of communication from the manager. This situation shows that the manager no longer values the opinion of the employee, and he or she feels the employee is not dependable. Once an employee is considered no longer dependable, that employee will definitely become expendable.
- An employee is having too many difficult conversations about the corporate culture of a company and is on the opposite side of the spectrum from other employees. An employee may not be a fit for the culture and does not see eye to eye with others. Making members of an organization comfortable is what some managers look for.
- An employee receives a poor review. This is a sign that the organization is not happy with the employee and opens the door for termination risks. Keep good relationships within the organization.
Severance Pay: Seek Legal Advice?
Being terminated can be an emotional experience for an employee. When going through an emotional issue, such as termination, an employee should get guidance before signing any paperwork in regards to severance. The severance process is for the company to limit its exposure. Remember Human Resources is there to protect the organization so having an attorney review the severance agreement is an important part of the "employee's business." The employee should always be focused on branding and financial status; no one works for free. Having an attorney review the agreement does not mean the employee will not sign the agreement, but it helps to make sure that the employee is protected and understands the agreement in its entirety.
Managerial Tips to Avoid Termination
Managers have to put themselves in the best possible position for success. Talented, informed and educated employees help managers become successful. The very last thing a great leader wants to do is terminate someone. Starting with new employees and going through the training process is very expensive for an organization. Leaders want to develop employees and help them exceed expectations so the last resort for a manager is termination. Unless there is fraud or theft, termination takes time to document and ensure that everything possible has been done prior to removing an employee from the business. Verbal coaching, written documentation and Human Resource involvement occurs prior to termination. This process looks different depending on the role. It could mean a Performance Improvement Plan or Action Plan but could also mean a Progressive Disciplinary Plan. It will start with verbal communication, work its way to written warnings and finally lead to termination. Managers must remember that all employees have rights. Established organizations want to make sure that all processes are followed and employees' rights are not being infringed upon.