No one likes to think about terminating cleaning technicians, but it's inevitable. As a business owner it's your job to determine when and how to terminate employees. It's also your job to make sure any management personnel know the rules for termination.
Some business owners hate terminating cleaning techicians so much that they put it off until they're "up to here" with frustration. But this is the worst time to let someone go. The chance that you'll make a mistake increases when you're frustrated and upset. So make sure you're calm and collected before you fire an employee.
Here are some common mistakes cleaning business owners make when terminating cleaning technicians
- Taking your anger out on the employee during termination. If you raise your voice, use foul language, or even fire the employee in front of their peers, there is a good chance the employee will retaliate. This retaliation could be in the form of a lawsuit for wrongful termination or filing an unemployment claim. He or she may even make threats against the company, other employees, you personally, or even your family.
And don't forget about the power of social media. Disgruntled, terminated employees will spread the bad word all over the Internet. Whenever terminating employees, be sure to treat them with respect, no matter how frustrated you are. If they're not a good fit for your company, then explain it calmly and with as much courtesy as you can muster.
- Terminating without warning. There are some cases where this is acceptable, such as in the case of obvious theft or abuse against a fellow employee. But in most cases, terminating without warning is not a good practice.
Give employees every chance to improve their performance. If they're not performing to standard, talk to them first. If the poor performance continues, create written documentation. Taking these steps helps you get all your ducks in a row should you need to terminate the employee down the road. And it ensures the termination won't be a surprise to the employee. It will also help deflect wrongful termination lawsuits and give you ground to stand on should you need to present your case to an unemployment judge.
- Putting the blame on something other than the employee's performance. Some employers will actually blame the termination on downsizing or lack of business. The problem with this is that your employee will probably go straight to the unemployment office and start collecting unemployment compensation, which will affect your SUTA rates. And you won't be able to fight it without the truth coming out, which won't go well for your company.
Termination Best Practices
- Create a progressive discipline policy for your company so you have a process and forms for documenting all discussions and warnings.
- Train all managers and supervisors on your termination policy and process. There is nothing worse than allowing your supervisors to terminate employees without training them on how to keep your company out of hot water.
- Never terminate an employee when you are angry or frustrated. If it's a situation where immediate termination is necessary, take a few deep breaths to try and calm yourself before taking action.
- Have a witness with you such as a manager or supervisor whenever terminating another employee -- especially if you anticipate resistance or anger from the employee.
- Always terminate employees in a private location away from other cleaning employees or employees of the building in the case of a commercial location. If you're terminating a residential cleaning employee, do it in the privacy of your office - not in a client's home. If possible, do it before or after the employee's shift so as not to create a lot of disruption in the workplace.
- Prepare paperwork ahead of time such as a termination statement, copies of previous write-ups to refer to, any forms relating to possession of company property, and your policy on final paychecks and termination of benefits.
Termination is never pleasant, but when you are prepared and calm, it doesn't have to be stressful. Treat the employee with courtesy respect, and move on quickly so you can fill the position with an employee that is a better fit for your cleaning company.