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How to manage the aftermath of a dismissal?

Employee dismissals are one of the most difficult parts of HR. You want the best for your employees, you spend time and resources to ensure that they’re happy and working well however, the secret to success in business is making sure you have the right team around you. This ultimately means that, sometimes, uncomfortable decisions need to be made, and people have to be let go. Here we take a look at how to manage the aftermath that might ensue after the dismissal of a member of your team and some key strategies that employers can employ to navigate the aftermath with empathy, professionalism, and minimal disruption to the workplace.

Possible Dismissal Complications

For both the employee and the employer, a dismissal is an emotional experience. As the employer, it is integral that you keep the process professional to minimise potentially negative outcomes. The key is to maintain dignity and respect throughout.

Employers faced with a dismissal need to:

This is because dismissing an employee can be very complex. Terms such as “unfair dismissal”, “constructive dismissal” and “wrongful termination” are often a deterrent from terminating employee contracts even though the employee is simply not performing to the standards you require. Nevertheless, failure to maintain professionalism and stick to proper processes can lead to claims of unfair or constructive dismissals made against you, meaning your company could end up having to compensate the employee, or even end up in an employer’s tribunal.

Contextual factors

In rare cases, the events leading to the dismissal may result in multiple members of staff being dismissed, or some staff receiving lesser sanctions. In other instances, the events in question may have left one or more ‘victims’ who remain in place and will understandably require some form of appropriate support in coping with what happened. These, and other contextual factors, can shape the ripple effect that any dismissal will have for a business and its stakeholders – as well as the other staff and potentially the wider community too. The position held by a dismissed employee can be fundamental in terms of the impact their dismissal has upon the organisation, along with other factors such as the longevity of their service and the visibility of their role to other staff.

Reputational management

Unrest within a business or organisation can also attract media attention, so preparing for the possibility of such attention, and managing your response to it, will require some specialist assistance from a press office. This is specifically the case when it comes to high profile dismissals that pose the potential for real reputational damage.

Whatever the circumstances, specialist HR advice should be sought in such cases where dismissal of employees, and specifically of those in leadership roles, which could result in negative effects trickling down to the rest of the workforce. Ensuring your organisation follows the correct HR procedures will cover you from any risk regarding claims of unfair dismissal, wrongful termination, or constructive dismissal.

Dismissing an employee is a challenging task for any employer. However, how the aftermath is managed can significantly impact the morale and productivity of the remaining team members. By communicating clearly, providing support, maintaining confidentiality, assessing the impact, learning from the experience, and upholding professionalism, employers can navigate this difficult period effectively. A well-handled dismissal can contribute to a positive work culture and reinforce trust within the organisation.

If you would like advice on how to manage a dismissal or the aftermath that could ensue, please contact hr inspire’s expert HR team – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy which can bring your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department.

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