Dismissal Meeting Term Paper Samples
As an office manager faced with the prospect of heading a dismissal meeting for employee layoffs, there are many factors that I must keep in mind. Layoffs can have a tremendous effect on organizations, as well as bring about a lot of negative emotions. People become very personally attached to their jobs, whether as passions or fundamental components of their livelihoods, and so the prospect of being let go is a hard one for many employees. This can lead to problem behavior that can be harmful to the company, particularly for employees that are informed of their termination prior to their last day. Negative reactions that employees can experience on learning they will be terminated include threatening, crying, accusations and confrontation (UCI Office of Human Resources, 2004).
Coping Strategies for Negative Employee Emotions
I would have to develop several methods as manager to cope with these negative emotions. First and foremost, effective and clear communication is key, with the employee or employees involved in the decision-making process. This strategy may include being up front and transparent about motivations and determinations for potential layoffs as early as is possible for the workers in question. This would allow them to feel more comfortable and in control about the ongoing process of separating from the company. Secondly, we would need to conduct careful planning of layoff announcements, as the more considerate we are of our employees, the more we will be thought of as fair and supportive of layoff victims and survivors alike (Stewart and Brown 2014, p. 271).
Thirdly, the company could (and should) offer outplacement services for employees to help them find new employment after being let go – from help with resume writing, interview practice and connecting employees with support groups. Worker’s compensation is another attribute of this stage; ensuring that outgoing workers feel that their needs are being tended to with regards to finances can alleviate the financial anxiety they may feel at no longer working, and make their journey towards new employment less stressful. With these methods, the overall effect of layoffs should be much more positive, and employees will be more likely to participate and accept the company’s decision.
How to Conduct the Dismissal Meeting
Laying off employees must take place in an organized, professional fashion, typically through a formal dismissal meeting. First, the meeting must be set in a private place out of sight of other employees, in order to limit the employees’ level of embarrassment in front of colleagues. In this particular situation, the dismissal meeting should be held between the manager, the employee and a third party that will not come across as threatening, but merely acting in an observational capacity (perhaps an HR representative). The meeting should be held early in the day and week, in order to keep the worker focused on the future and catch them at a more focused time of day. By considering the environment and timing of the meeting as much a the content, it is possible to further limit negative reactions to the unfortunate news the employee is about to hear.
When conducting the dismissal meeting, a systematic process would have to be followed. First, the meeting would begin with an honest, forthright but sensible explanation of the reasons that employee is being discharged or laid off. These reasons must not be made to be personal, and feelings of the dismissed employee should be protected as much as possible in order to ensure the company appears to act in good faith. At the same time, language should be direct and concise, in order to avoid ambiguity or confusion. I would ensure that the employee was aware that the decision is final, and run through the various benefits and resources we would be providing them, including compensation. I would also explain our job reference policy, so that they would know the extent to which we could refer them to another potential employer in the future. I would ask that the employee stay seated and listen attentively as I go through all of the pertinent details, as presenting those things to them right away would prevent them from feeling a lack of closure or feeling as though they have unanswered questions.
Next, I would ensure that I gave the employee a short time to react or ask questions, in order to give them closure or express their interpretation of events in a calm and collected manner. Ideally, this would prevent any unanswered questions or issues that would possibly lead to the decision to sue the company for unlawful termination, and bring greater peace of mind to the employee. With these questions, I would answer them concisely and clearly, with great respect to the employee’s feelings and an attitude of optimism for the employee’s future and what we can provide for them on their journey to new employment. Once that has been provided, I would collect everything that belongs to the company from the employee’s person and/or desk, and send them on their way. In an ideal scenario, no security personnel would be required to escort them out of the building, but I would have one or more personnel on standby to be used depending on the tenor of the meeting.
Determining compensation for the company that it can provide to the employee we are separating from our employment would also factor in a number of things. First and foremost, we would have to factor in the work history of the employee and their position (years worked, responsibilities, salary, etc.) and determine an appropriate percentage of that salary we could continue to pay as compensation. A demarcated schedule of salary reduction would be permitted for up to six months (or until the former employee secured appropriate employment), with benefits being secured in full for that period. Unemployed workers receiving benefits is a tremendous help to those seeking new employment, and so we would want to ensure that we provided that for our employees (Burdett & Wright, 1989).
Effects of Layoffs on the Company
The effect of this layoff on the company could come from a few different places for the company. First and foremost, the company’s reputation could be harmed, as the company could be seen as unscrupulous or cruel for letting go employees and ruining livelihoods (Flanagan & O’Shaughnessy, 2005). This can be greatly exacerbated by any ill will or bad press spurned workers can have against the company, which can be made public and hurt the company’s image even further. In layoffs, it is very difficult for companies to come off as sensible or forthright if the fired workers make statements to the press or the media overall regarding their dissatisfaction with their termination.
Furthermore, office morale would be hurt by the prospect of more layoffs coming, making workers less passionate and dedicated to their work. These individuals, known as ‘layoff survivors,’ can often have similar reactions to layoffs as layoff victims, leaving them to sympathize with their coworkers and remain insecure about their own future at the company (Stewart & Brown, 2014). While many may also be relieved that they were not laid off, and even work harder to maintain their job, this can also lead to undue stress and anxiety as they begin to fear and resent their managers and coworkers for possibly judging them for bad work. This is something that would need to be addressed in any layoff situation, as the remaining workers should be made to feel comfortable and secure in their work, so as not to increase the likelihood of negative emotions in case other layoffs need to occur (Flanagan & O’Shaughnessy, 2005).
However, the layoffs would also allow for the potential for profitability, or at least the staving off of major problems in the organization, as the lower expenses related to fewer employees would allow for lower overhead and the potential to recover from debt. The primary reasons for conducting layoffs in the first place relate to some sort of profit or income shortfall that necessitates the cutting of operating expenses, which often includes workers. To that end, layoffs would have both positive and negative effects on the organization, making the decision a complicated one to make.
Layoffs can happen for many reasons, whether due to a decrease in demand or issues with the company’s finances or debt (Hall & Lazear, 1984). However, with the help of these clear strategies, it is possible to facilitate a layoff procedure that will leave both employers and employees in better conditions to handle the stressors and pressures of finding new employment or going through the termination process. With the appropriate coping strategies, it is possible for employers to minimize negative emotions in the worker, structure a dismissal meeting that lessens discomfort and clears up communication, and sets up a generous schedule for compensation that provides the workers with the resources and time to find a new source of employment that is commensurate with their skills and abilities. Despite the painful process of layoffs and termination, a good manager has the ability to lessen the damage and make it as smooth a process as possible.
TIMELINE FOR COMPENSATION DISBURSEMENT
Ex. Terminated employee at $45,000 a year salary (benefits would remain full for six-month period or until other employment is secured):
Burdett, K., & Wright, R. (1989). Unemployment insurance and short-time compensation: The effects on
layoffs, hours per worker, and wages. The Journal of Political Economy, 1479-1496.
Flanagan, D. J., & O’Shaughnessy, K. C. (2005). The effect of layoffs on firm
reputation. Journal of management, 31(3), 445-463.
Hall, R. E., & Lazear, E. P. (1982). The excess sensitivity of layoffs and quits to demand.
Stewart, G.L., & Brown, K.G. (2014) Human resource management (3rd ed.). Wiley.
UCI Office of Human Resources. (2004). Best practices for managing layoffs: practical
information for managers & supervisors. UCI Office of Human Resources.
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