When I was a young man growing up, I always remember my father saying, "son, never be afraid to get the absolute best-you will never be disappointed." To this day, those words still hold true and have always been part of our foundation.
Likewise, those same words are critically important on how one chooses to manage a termination process where there is a potentially violent outcome. Anyone in a leadership position that has had to manage the termination of a hostile employee knows how difficult it can be to make sure all the bases are covered so no one gets hurt and the employee moves on to bigger and better things. But, as evident by world news, the desired outcome is not always achieved and results in catastrophic damage.
Although managing hostile employee terminations is stressful and carries an immense degree of responsibility, there are three simple "rules" that will help anyone through the planning process.
Choosing The Right People
We all know we cannot do everything. We need to surround ourselves with quality people who can assist us along the way.
Having a legal team in place before terminating any employee is critical. They will help guide you (and your company) through the minefield of legalities in the termination process. Retain attorneys who have years of experience and specialize in representing employers in employment and labor matters such as Miller Johnson Attorneys Tony Comden & Mary Tabin. Their experience in termination matters is second to none, and they set the standard in the industry.
Secondary to a legal team is a security/investigative team. If you have never had a need for either, but you have the right legal team, they will help you select the proper security/investigation company. Look for a company who's people have extensive law enforcement experience. They will be very familiar working with legal teams and have sound relationships with law enforcement agencies should their services ever become necessary. A quality security/investigative team will know criminal and civil law, are highly trained to handle all types of violent situations and have years of experience in dealing with hostile individuals.
Putting The Right People In The Right Place
The best thing about having only quality people helping you along the way is they all work very well together and they know what they are doing without having to be directed. Controlling a termination has a lot of moving parts, so you have to have people who know what they are doing, where their job(s) fall in the big picture, and can be counted on to be there, performing their jobs at an incredibly high standard. By ensuring you have the right people, in the right place will help you focus on your responsibilities without being concerned about other matters.
Having the Right People In The Right Place At The Right Time
Timing is absolutely critical in controlling a termination and preventing devastating results at the hands of an employee. Discuss your termination plans with your legal & security teams as soon as you believe there may be an issue with the termination. Being notified well in advance will allow your security team the time they need to do a threat assessment and provide security guidance BEFORE things get out of hand. Remember, it is always better to plan for a worse case scenario and not have it happen, than to have it happen without ever planning a thing.