“I have told almost 300 employees to go home.” one senior guy was proudly telling us in our regular meeting. This person was known in the company for his wise conversation skills. While speaking with the employees he uses to catch employees in words. He was also known for politicizing issues.
It is very difficult to hire a good employee. It is very easy to sack somebody. You should be proud for hiring good people. If you are sacking somebody and so frequently, it means your hiring is very bad.
“Sir, I hired almost 1000 employees in my career and they all are doing well. They still call me and ask my advice on the issues they face in life.” I replied, “I have fired very few people in my career. I am not proud to say this.” I replied, “However the companies are also doing well where they are working.”
Identifying the talent in the market is very critical. I also sacked employees in my career. This is one of unpleasant jobs; we HR professionals have to do. But the option should be exercised as a last option in respective cases. In one big company, where I was heading the Plant HR & IR function, we had given the charge sheet to almost 20 employees for their habitual absenteeism; few were for abetting to strike. Few cases were suspension pending enquiry. The cases and misconducts were very grave. We completed the enquiry. All found guilty and we were justified to terminate these employees. However on the request of union and considering their family situation, we agreed to get the personal bond for good conduct. In industrial relations, there is no right or wrong decision. You have to analyze the situation before any decision. I personally counseled them in presence of union office bearers and plant head. “You should be present for all working days in a year in the company. Your one day, absence may warrant your termination. We had enquiry reports with us, we had already issued the show causes to your on the finding of enquiry report and you have given the good conduct bond. Now ball is in your court.” I explained. Sometimes you should be blunt to tell the fact during counseling.
After two months union called one day flash strike. It means above employees did not report to work. They are technically absent on duties. As pressure tact, we decided to terminate some employees who had committed grave misconducts. I made the letters and put for the sign of plant head as he was the authorized to sign such papers. “These are my first terminations in my life and I am not proud to do this.” He said to me before signing the papers.
Above cases were the isolated cases of Industrial relations. Sometimes you have few options in such scenario. As a part of my profession, I had to do this unpleasant work.
Termination of white collar employees is totally different task. In fact very easy as compare to blue collar terminations. In isolated cases it is again very easy, but I always see the reason why we need to terminate somebody. These are improvement areas. Why I need to sack the person? Performance issues? Discipline? Behaviors ? what are reasons?
Bad hiring, no proper feedback or HR system can be the root cause of all these.
During recession, we all must have dealt with this. The terminologies like Manpower Planning, HR planning has no meaning sometimes. Companies hired the employees without any future projections. If you need 5 people, management was ready to give you 7 without much justifications. But then recession brought them on the ground. There are companies who exercised the downsizing as a last option. But in business, “you have no any other option” is the last statement.
One day top boss of the company call me and bluntly told me, “I think Mr. X is creating more problems now and you need to seriously tell him to go home. If he is not ready to put the papers, just terminate him.” He was referring about the same senior person who once told me that he had asked almost 300 guys and girls to go home. One circle completed. I believe intention matters. His intention was different, my intention is different.