5 Guidelines for Hiring to Firing Due Process

Terminating an employee is never easy. It can be emotional, can affect employee morale and even have potential legal ramifications. That’s why it is extremely important to make sure you have well-constructed procedures and policies in place before undertaking any employee terminations.

Terminating an employee is never easy. It can be emotional, can affect employee morale and even have potential legal ramifications. That’s why it is extremely important to make sure you have well-constructed procedures and policies in place before undertaking any employee terminations. Studies have shown that not following due process can be very costly to an employer:

Terminating an employee who is paid $20,000 per year can cost the employer approximately $40,000
Wrongful termination lawsuits can cost an employer anywhere from $100,000 to $1million
Former employees win jury verdicts 64% of the time in wrongful termination lawsuits
Numbers like these can devastate a small to mid-size business. Most legal repercussions can be avoided if a company has clearly stated hiring to firing human resource policies and procedures in place and that they make sure management follows the policies and procedures. Every company, no matter the size, needs established guidelines for hiring to firing due process.

5 Basic Management Guidelines for Due Process

The success or failure of an adverse employment related issue is ultimately in the hands of the manager, and is directly related to how the manager conducts the due process. Following the five basic management guidelines for due process can greatly reduce the risk of problems or even lawsuits:

Observe
Train your managers to know what to look for when observing an employee. Telltale signs that an employee may be “falling down” on the job include:

Changing patterns at work (i.e. unattributed illness, missed deadlines, increased mistakes)
Change in moods (i.e. complains about co-workers, seems irritable and/or depressed)
Physical signs (i.e. slurred speech, change in appearance after lunch or breaks)
Interaction with co-workers (i.e. overreaction to criticism, complaints from peers)
It is not enough to just observe the behavior of an employee; the questionable behavior must be properly documented. If not, it becomes a case of the employee’s word over the manager’s word.

Document
Without documentation, there is no way to prove that an undesirable behavior happened. Proper documentation of the observed employee behavior is essential. Be sure the documentation:

Directly relates to the job performance and/or safety issues
Can be verified by facts (i.e. do not rely on hearsay or the opinions of others)
Is objective, fair and consistent
Is complete and accurate
Prepare
After the behavior(s) is documented, managers need to make sure the face-to-face meeting is productive by taking time to properly prepare. Before meeting with the employee, make sure to:

Review the employee’s record
Review the company policy
Correlate how the observation directly violates company policy
List areas for improvement
List methods that will be used to help the employee improve
Prepare an opening statement
Schedule the meeting in a private setting
Confront
This is difficult for managers and employees, but it is an essential step in the termination process. During the meeting with the employee, the manager must confront the employee concisely by:

Keeping it specific, factual, firm and descriptive
Showing respect, interest and sympathy
Asking open ended questions
Outlining expectations and next steps
Scheduling the follow up meeting
Signing the disciplinary paperwork
Employees have been known to refuse to sign the paperwork. If that happens, document and include it in the employee’s file. Have another manager’s sign the documentation as well.

Follow Up
The most common reason why due process fails is failure to do the follow up. There are many reasons that follow up does not happen including the employee showing signs of improvement or the manager not checking the progress of the employee. It is very important to always schedule a follow up meeting to:

Review the employee’s progress summary
Document all points covered during the meeting
Explain any next steps
If needed, schedule another follow up meeting and review all expectations if there has been no improvement
These five basic due process guidelines for management ensure company policies are being followed. These guidelines also help to protect the organization in the event wrongful termination suits are filed.
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    Next up: 5 Takeaways from COSE's Annual Meeting
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  • 5 Takeaways from COSE's Annual Meeting

    Hundreds of COSE members attended the 2016 version of the COSE Annual Meeting on February 24 at the Near West Theatre. Here are five takeaways from the meeting they walked away with:

    Hundreds of COSE members attended the 2016 version of the COSE Annual Meeting on February 24 at the Near West Theatre. Here are five takeaways from the meeting they walked away with:

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    1) Meet COSE's new Chairman, Mike Stanek

    Mike Stanek, CFO of Hunt Imaging, was introduced as the new chairman of COSE for 2016 and 2017. He follows Rion Safier in that role. In remarks to the hundreds of people in attendance, Stanek said his goals for COSE are four-fold:

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    • Increased member engagement and participation

    Stanek said he would like to get more members involved in the organization. This extends to not only the programs and resources COSE provides, but also in COSE’s work with the Greater Cleveland Partnership to ensure the voice and needs of small business are front and center.

    • Expansion of COSE’s regional footprint

    Deeper involvement from all across the region is imperative, he said. Two years from now, Stanek said he would like to see COSE doing more in the broader regional footprint of Northeast Ohio.

    • Adjusting the mix of support and services

    As COSE’s small businesses change, so too must COSE adjust the programs and services that are offered. Stanek pledged to tap into members’ insights to find the most significant areas where COSE can be a difference-maker.

    • Stay fresh and exciting

    Everything COSE does should be exciting and fresh, he said. He understands member time is valuable and COSE’s staff wants to ensure that when that time is spent with the organization, the member walks away feeling good about their involvement.


    2) Recognizing Rion Safier

    Before turning over the COSE reins to Stanek, Safier was recognized as the departing chairman of COSE. During his tenure as chairman, he said the organization has done a good job of getting members and leaders more involved as small business advocates and continuing to build strong partnerships across the state to best serve small businesses.

    He said the groundwork has been laid for closer collaboration with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and as such this closer alignment will create additional connectivity across the business community and create more of a benefit for the voice and role of small business in the work that is done in this region. What is remaining the same, he said, is the intense focus COSE will continue to have on small businesses.


    3) 2015 Volunteer Service Award

    The 2015 Volunteer Service Award was presented to Toby Heintzelman of Driftwood Restaurant Group. Heintzelman was instrumental in initiating action by COSE to get a new law passed by state government that will more effectively protect small business owners from workers compensation successor liability. The law requires the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to reduce or eliminate the transfer of a negative experience to a successor employer under certain circumstances. This legislation paves the way for relief for small business owners who are often unknowingly impacted until it’s too late. 


    4) Staff Service Award

    Steve Millard, the President and Executive Director of COSE, presented the 2015 Staff Service Award to Adina Magda, Events Manager for COSE. In her role, Magda is charged with creating effective, enjoyable experiences for COSE members through events such as the annual Small Business Convention, OHTec’s Tech Week, and many others. 


    5) What to watch in 2016

    Millard closed the meeting by pointing out five things members should keep an eye on as we move through 2016.

    • COSE Health and Wellness Trust

    This is a self-funded option that allows for flexibility of benefit options, provides rate stability and holds financial benefits designed exclusively by COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership. COSE’s goal is to provide this new multiple employer health plan by mid-summer. The trust is not subject to some state health insurance regulations/benefit mandates. Therefore, the benefit options may be less expensive. COSE’s health insurance partner Medical Mutual will administer the plan’s benefits. The trust is still pending approval from the Ohio Department of Insurance.

    • Continued partnership with the GCP

    There are many issues the business community faces together. Going forward, COSE and the GCP will work more closely together to connect small, mid-market and large and tech-focused businesses to help create more opportunities for connection.

    The COSE Expert Network is a resource that connects small businesses with other small business experts in fields such as marketing, HR, IT and others. COSE is continuing to recruit more experts to this network and create heightened visibility of the resource to support the small business community.

    • HR and marketing solutions

    COSE will roll out a variety of new resources in these two highly important areas for small business in the next couple of months.

    • COSE Small Business Investor Network: 

    This network, comprised of small business leaders, will, over the next year, cover the full geography of Northeast Ohio. It will be a sounding board, voice and source of insight for COSE’s work and to represent the needs of small business owners in the region.


    Thank you to everyone who attended Annual Meeting. We look forward to continue to work with you in pursuit of the growth and success of your business in the year ahead.



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    Next up: A chat with Best IT Services Company of the Year, Accellis Technology
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  • A chat with Best IT Services Company of the Year, Accellis Technology

    When you walk into Accellis Technology’s office, you’ll see a large plush bear sitting at its own desk and plenty of sticky notes with ideas they need to get back to stuck against their conference room windows. You’ll also notice how open it is and how friendly everyone was when I first walked in. In the short period of time that Accellis has been in business, they’ve developed a strong culture which has helped them build and retain their customer base. I got the opportunity to hear more about who they are and how they became the winner of 2016 OHTec’s Best IT Services Company of the Year. Enjoy!

    When you walk into Accellis Technology’s office, you’ll see a large plush bear sitting at its own desk and plenty of sticky notes with ideas they need to get back to stuck against their conference room windows. You’ll also notice how open it is and how friendly everyone was when I first walked in. In the short period of time that Accellis has been in business, they’ve developed a strong culture which has helped them build and retain their customer base. I got the opportunity to hear more about who they are and how they became the winner of 2016 OHTec’s Best IT Services Company of the Year. Enjoy!

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    Next up: Achieve the Lowest Total Cost of Ownership
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  • Achieve the Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

    It is common to hear the words “price” and “cost” used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between the two. “Price” is the sum for which a product is bought and sold. “Cost” is that price plus all direct and indirect costs associated with acquiring, paying for, utilizing, and maintaining a product over its entire lifecycle.

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    TCO is a concept that speaks to the reality that price is always a part of cost, but cost is not always a part of the price. More than just the dollar amount, TCO incorporates both the value of time, and the amount of work (direct or indirect) needed to acquire and maintain a product or service.

    Although foreign to some, integrating the TCO model into your everyday business practices can undoubtedly impact your bottom line. Let’s take a look at another example. We will begin by looking at a price-focused model, using office supplies as the example.

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    Meet Andrew. Andrew works for a small advertising agency and makes $15 per hour At the beginning of each month, Andrew orders office supplies for the entire agency of 10 people. This month, a total of 6 different items were requested by individuals within the agency.

     

    Andrew begins by selecting four vendors that he will use to research his items. His only goal is secure the best deal on each of the six items that he needs to order.

    Andrew spends two hours doing price comparisons for these items at each of the different vendors, and finishes with three different orders, and a savings of $10.

    If Andrew makes $15 per hour and only saved the company $10 at the end of a two hour price comparison, did the agency really save money, or lose it?

    Andrew’s savings of $10 created three different shipping charges, three separate deliveries, and three separate invoices.

    Now, let’s turn our attention to the same scenario using the TCO approach.

    Andrew begins by selecting the same four vendors that he will use to research his items. His goal this time is to secure a solid deal, but to not spend a lot of time completing his office supplies order.

    Andrew spends 45 minutes doing price comparisons for his six items at each of the vendors, and finishes with one order, and a savings of $5.

    Rather than using two hours of his time, incurring a multitude of other charges, and making more work for other departments, Andrew created a single order, with one delivery and one invoice, reducing the agency’s overall costs associated with placing the office supplies order.

    Using a TCO approach Andrew saved the agency only $5 on the price of the items, but he also reduced the total cost associated with the purchase by eliminating:

    • Labor cost of the time spent on price comparisons

    • Shipping charges from the additional suppliers

    • Labor costs of the time spent to take delivery from the additional suppliers

    • Labor costs for processing the additional invoices

    Andrew even put the agency ahead because now Andrew has more time to do other things that help the agency achieve its mission. This is TCO at work. Next time you find yourself searching for the lowest price on an item, consider the total cost of your quest throughout the lifecycle of that product.

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    Next up: Hyland’s focus on culture has become a part of its identity
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  • Hyland’s focus on culture has become a part of its identity

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Kathleen Vegh to discuss some of the great things that are going on at Hyland, creator of OnBase, specifically their culture. You can tell even when you are in the building that there’s a buzz and that people are happy to be where they are. The many programs they offer to their employees ranges from a daycare, to getting your haircut, to community engagement etc. I was lucky to have the opportunity to get to know more about the inner workings and hope you all walking away understanding how great of a place Hyland is to work and play. Enjoy!

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Kathleen Vegh to discuss some of the great things that are going on at Hyland, creator of OnBase, specifically their culture. You can tell even when you are in the building that there’s a buzz and that people are happy to be where they are. The many programs they offer to their employees ranges from a daycare, to getting your haircut, to community engagement etc. I was lucky to have the opportunity to get to know more about the inner workings and hope you all walking away understanding how great of a place Hyland is to work and play. Enjoy!

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    Next up: AtNetPlus Named One of 2017 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®
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  • AtNetPlus Named One of 2017 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    AtNetPlus is proud to be listed on the Tech Elite 250 list. The Tech Elite 250 list recognizes IT solution providers with deep technical expertise and premier certifications.

    AtNetPlus announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named AtNetPlus to its 2017 Tech Elite 250 list. This annual list honors an exclusive group of North American IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology vendors, scaled to their company size.

    To compile the annual list, The Channel Company’s research group and CRN editors work together to identify the most customer-beneficial technical certifications in the North American IT channel. Solution providers that have obtained these elite designations—which enable them to deliver premium products, services and customer support—are then selected from a pool of online applicants.

    As a company, AtNetPlus is dedicated to continuous training and certifications to ensure our technicians have up-to-date skill sets to provide the best to our clients. AtNetPlus CEO Jay Mellon said, “We continue to maintain a commitment to education, training, and certifications for our employees. Through these avenues we’re able to help nurture our employees and provide the best solutions for our customers. We are proud to be recognized as part of the Tech Elite 250.”

    “This exclusive, ambitious group of solution providers boasts some of the most advanced IT certifications available from top technology suppliers,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “They have adapted impressively to major changes in the IT channel, especially the shift to a more services-driven market, by expanding their skill sets and sharpening both their technical and customer service expertise. Congratulations to our 2017 list, whose robust investment in their organizations has earned them yet another elite designation—the CRN Tech Elite 250.”

    Coverage of the Tech Elite 250 will be featured in the April issue of CRN, and online at www.crn.com/techelite250.
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