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September 2014
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Q&A on Terminating Employees in Your Cleaning Business

My friend Arlene Vernon is an HR Expert and owner of HRx in the Twin Cities. She recently answered several common questions regarding teminating employees. Cleaning Business owners should pay attention because if you haven't had these situations come up yet, you're bound to in the future.

Q: Should I give an employee the option to resign rather than terminating her?

A: That is an option if you want the person to be able to ‘truthfully’ answer that they resigned when they apply for future jobs. But realize that for unemployment purposes this is still a termination which means that the former employee will receive unemployment benefits unless you contest it.

Additionally, when the former employee files for unemployment you must answer that you offered the employee the choice to resign or be terminated and they chose resignation. Since the unemployment process is a legal process, and you never know what legal claims may come in the future, your documentation must be consistent.

Q: An employee resigns and gives two-weeks’ notice. Do I have to accept the notice?

A: If the resigning employee has been a problem performer, if the employee is working around sensitive information, or if the employee is likely to cause problems during the notice period or not work at all, my recommendation is to accept the resignation effective immediately and let the person go. This is still considered a resignation, you’ve just sped up the effective date.

Many employers choose to pay the employee the notice period. That way you’re recognizing that the employee gave you the notice you’ve likely asked for in your employee handbook. And in case the now former employee talks to other employees about being let go, at least it shows that you respected the notice period.

It’s important to note that if you always decline employees’ notice periods, your employees will stop giving you notice. So determine what’s right in each circumstance.

Q: What do I tell my employees after I just fired their coworker?

A: Of course, that depends on the circumstance of the termination. I typically recommend that you inform employees individually or as a group (depending on the culture and workplace), “Joe is no longer with us. I’m not planning to share the details, but this is how I’d like you to handle it when customers call to ask for him…”

Employees understand that when an employee exits swiftly that a termination has occurred. And while they’re curious, if they were the one terminated, they wouldn’t want everyone to know the details why – which is how I would answer any probing questions.

The most important piece is recreating the team, planning with them how to fill the gap so that work is accomplished most efficiently and explaining how you’re re-filling the position.

Arlene Vernon has provided HR consulting and management training services to over 500 organizations since starting HRx, Inc. in 1992. If you’re seeking a hands-on, practical HRxpert to assist your organization with employee relations, policy development, strategic HR activities or fun/doable management training, call on Arlene – Your HRxpert. HRx, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952.996.0975

Cleaning Business Owners: One Way To Add Value To Your Clients During Flu Season

I'm sure you've heard this before - it's important to add value to your clients in order to retain them long-term. But what exactly does that mean - to "add value"?

Here is an example of what one cleaning company does to add value. 

Fall and winter is the time of year we all start talking about the flu and how to protect ourselves from contracting it from co-workers, friends and family.
As a cleaning business owner, you know that washing hands, plus effective cleaning and disinfecting can make a difference in protecting people from the spread of germs. So why not help your clients protect their employees in the workplace and at home?
Partner up with a graphic designer and/or printer in order to have signs made up that can be placed around the office and in the rest rooms. Use the signs to remind employees that proper hygienic practices are especially important during flu season.
Here is an example of a poster that is available from the CDC. You could have your printer make copies and laminate them for you. Or, you could have a graphic designer create something similar, but add your logo and business name to the bottom.

Here is another poster on flu prevention from the State of Minnesota:


Here is a poster from the CDC that offers hand-washing tips for many different situations.

Another idea for adding value to your cleaning clients is to place disinfectant dispensers in strategic places around the office. You may offer to install the dispensers at no cost, or perhaps even provide the dispensers for free as long as they buy the product refills through your company.
You might also suggest the employer provide facial tissues in common areas and conference rooms.
Many building owners and managers know this is something they should do for the people working in their buildings, but often times they get too busy to follow through and make it happen. If you are proactive by putting a plan together and helping them implement the signage and communication efforts, it's a tremendous value-added service that your clients will appreciate!