Most managers look at exits as a necessary evil. On the contrary, exits are great opportunities for sending the right message across teams if they are handled with finesse and clarity.
There are some common reasons for short-changing the right process. A common problem is every startup needs the person it is hiring immediately. Hence, the candidate is often unable to serve the notice period with the current employer, which is likely another startup. And since startups do not often have backups, they are not prepared to relieve the individual easily. This is a common conflict that results in a lot of bad blood.
There could be a misplaced focus on cost cutting. Many years ago, a manager asked me: “I had put this team member on a performance improvement plan for two months. Now at the end of two months, I’ve figured out that this isn’t working. So, I am asking the employee to leave. Why do I have to serve notice or pay salary in lieu of notice, because I had already served a two-month notice via the performance improvement plan?” The manager was trying to cut costs without an understanding of the legal and moral obligations involved in separation.
Not taking time to provide and document feedback is another problem. When a separation is initiated without adequate feedback, it is a process violation.
There are some basics for letting go of employees the right way. Do not stop treating the exiting employee with respect. Do not get into arguments on their right to separate or views about your company. Do not insist on them serving the notice period if there is no real need.
Maintain confidentiality. A manager might come up and enquire about a colleague’s separation, saying: “I am not keen to know why, but my team members are asking me questions”. Set the basic behaviour expectations right with seniors. They cannot be allowed to palm off their personal curiosity as questions from their team.
Another question: “We are letting the person go of on performance grounds. Shouldn’t we let people in the company know about that?”
No way. This is not done. It can have legal and moral implications.
(As told to ET’s Mugdha Variyar)
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