Do you have an employee that you simply cannot afford any longer? Or a staff member with a performance issue that has been addressed several times and has not improved? Perhaps he or she cost your firm a large account and morale at the office is waning. In other words, the person may have to be let go sooner rather than later.
Martha Stewart’s media company just cut 100 employees, right before the holidays. While the company is public and we’re pretty sure Martha didn’t do the firing herself, it impacts overall morale, Martha’s reputation (which already has had its share of challenges) and the brand of a firm that is supposed to stand for enhancing one’s lifestyle. Put simply, “Bah! Humbug!”
Firing an employee over the holidays is tough. For the employee, losing a job around the holidays is even more traumatic. As the employer and the decision-maker, what are your options? Are there ways to help soften the blow?
Some believe it’s better to deal with the employee for a couple more weeks and take care of the situation right after the holidays, when the person can get more emotional support from their peers and loved ones, and counseling and advisory services are more readily available.
However, if keeping the employee on for a few more weeks could cause irreparable harm to your business, then you need to act now, and be generous with the severance if possible.
In fact, some people might actually prefer to lose their job before the holidays, so they can watch their spending more closely. Losing a job early in the New Year before the credit card bill rolls in can impact a family’s finances for a long time.
Remember that most importantly, you want your valuable employees focused on the business — and on your clients. You don’t want people getting sidetracked and worried about their own jobs, so try to be as transparent as possible when the person is let go. Gossip mills start fast, and it can be difficult to put a stop to the contagious behavior.
You don’t want employee morale to be compromised, so the more compassionate you act, the better it is for everyone.