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Chapter 14. Worry About the Other Shoe D... > Violence, Disciplinary Action, and D... - Pg. 145

Worry About the Other Shoe Dropping-- Violence 145 Dismissal is a business decision. It's not personal, and it's not about humiliating someone, getting even, or making someone look stupid. That's the fast track to becoming a victim of violence. Other Tips Are there other things to do to reduce the probability of workplace violence connected with dis- missal? Yes. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Exhaust all other possibilities before moving to dismissal. Remember that you hired the person, and you have some responsibility in the matter. Train, talk, coach, and help. At least the employee will recognize that you aren't being vindictive if you try helping first. Catch abusive behavior early. Yelling, personal abuse, and similar behavior may indicate a proclivity for violence. Have a policy in place that specifies what is inappropriate behavior, and try to nip it in the bud using the tools we've already mentioned. The policy must apply to everyone, top to bottom, and be enforced consistently. Be honest during performance appraisals and the performance-management/feedback proc- ess. Don't tell a poor performer he is doing well when he isn't. That creates surprise if you come down with a heavy hand. And that can contribute to violence. Be prepared to offer any support services available. Plan to do so in a dismissal meeting. If you can provide job-search training, offer it. If you can provide counseling, do so. Garner your support resources before the meeting so you know what you can offer. Don't conduct a dismissal meeting without planning it all out. Decide who needs to be there. Will there be someone to witness it? Will the employee be asked to leave immediately? How will severance be handled? Who will say what? Keep the dismissal meeting short, perhaps 15 minutes or so. You want to convey information, how you and the company can help, and to project as sup- portive an image as possible. This is not the time to negotiate or argue or harangue, because you've already made a final decision. With an upset or angry employee, the longer a meeting goes, the more volatile the situation can become. Take your cue from the employee. Ask yourself: If we continue, is this meeting likely to get easier or worse?. While you need to explain the reasons for dismissal, nothing stops you from also mentioning any areas of strength the employee has shown. The dismissal process is hard on the employee's ego. Mentioning any positives cushions the ego blow. It also shows you aren't trying to destroy the employee. Talking about positives can make the discussion seem less "personal." Provide the basic information in written form. The employee needs to leave knowing where things stand and to be able to reference details on paper. For example, severance arrangements should be specified in writing, as should any other significant details such as continuation (or termination) of benefit programs. Have this prepared in advance of the dismissal meeting.