Human Capital & Careers

You’re Fired! But Why?

When employees are let go, they often don't get an explanation.
Gareth GohNovember 16, 2006

Donald Trump may be
good at firing his apprentices,
but most companies
do a poor job of terminating employees.

A recent survey by The Five O’clock Club,
a New York–based job-outplacement firm,
found that in many cases, employees don’t
understand why they are being let go. While 94
percent of human-resource managers say they
gave reasons for dismissals, only 74 percent of
employees say they received an explanation.

Richard Bayer, COO of The Five O’clock
Club, says that often employees are so shocked
to hear the bad news that they don’t listen to the
rest of the conversation. He advises HR managers
to call employees the next day to explain
the situation and outline their benefits in detail. And, he says, words of encouragement — that
their hard work was appreciated, for example —
can go a long way toward discouraging a lawsuit. Managers are often afraid to say anything
positive, explains Bayer, fearing a wrongful termination
suit. “The opposite is true,” he says. “Failure to say a kind word is more likely to create
a disgruntled former employee.”

HR managers agree that they don’t do a
good job on terminations; 63 percent say they
could handle them better.

So You Say
HR managers and former employees disagree about dismissal practices.
Was the employee informed of reasons for dismissal?
HR managers who said yes 94%
Employees who said yes 74%
Could the dismissal have been handled better?
HR managers who said yes 63%
Employees who said yes 74%
Would the employee recommend the organization in the future?
HR managers who said yes 50%
Employees who said yes 31%
Source: The Five O’clock Club