Letting someone go in the hospitality industry
Firing someone is never easy. On rare occasions it can give a huge sense of relief, but for the most part it makes most of us feel uncomfortable. Personally it was something I struggled with for a number of years. You could put me in front of 10,000 people and I could easily talk for hours, but put me in a face-to-face confrontation and I couldn’t do it. I discuss this more in my latest publication, but essentially it stemmed from childhood - specifically bullying during high school. I believe what makes it uncomfortable is not the final discussion right before dismissal, but the events leading up to the dismissal. Below are the three steps I use in leading up to a potential dismissal. 1. Communicate.
Whatever the reason is for potential dismissal, start by raising the potential issue early – really early. Nearly every negative situation can be cleared up to some degree if actioned early enough. Normally there are enough signs along the way but you have to act. In these early discussions, never go into a discussion with a ‘you VS them’ mentality. Always have the right intention from the start and focus on healing the situation. The conversation will conclude in a ‘fight or flight’ scenario. They will understand and try to improve the situation or they will bury their feet in the ground, disagree and retaliate. 2 Apply pressure.
If retaliation occurs then it’s time to apply more pressure. Continue these discussions and highlight that their employment is based on two things - skills and attitude. Both of these must be acceptable. Highlight that anything that disrupts the workplace culture and the people in it must be addressed. 3.Take action.
By this stage the person in question has either left (which is the ideal outcome) or they’re continuing to retaliate. At this stage a written warning should be given with very clear reasons as to why their behaviour is a problem and state that unless it’s addressed it will result in dismissal. This does depend on the workplace contract so ensure you follow this correctly to avoid backlash. Your final discussion should highlight that this isn’t just your decision but a decision for the business. They have broken parts of the businesses non-negotiable and that isn’t acceptable. In this industry, you must hit problems on the head as soon as you see them. We work in a close proximity environment, so problems can turn toxic extremely quickly. Communicate, apply pressure and decide on an outcome. No one staff member is worth unbalancing your workplace culture and damaging its eco-system.