Firing-Discipline Interview

I interviewed Keith who is the manager of the collections department at NorthStar. From this experience, I learned that many organizations follow a similar discipline process. These often include verbal warning, written warning, and final written warning. However, I also learned that some managers will try to avoid the next step of the process by putting employees in a “probation period” in which they have a plan to correct or improve the employees behavior. I think it is important to recognize the importance of communication with your employer or leadership. If you have received a warning of some sort, I think most leadership members are willing to help you resolve an issue if it is not something you can do on your own. 

    1. What is your process of steps to take before firing an employee? The formal process of steps to take before firing an employee is set by the company. We do a verbal warning, a written warning, and then a final written warning.
    2. Who else is involved during the firing process? It depends on why the individual is being fired. Typically HR and myself.
    3. How many steps are involved from first offense to dismissal? If we follow the process usually 3. This can always change depending on circumstances and what the offense is. Some offenses I will not go as far as doing a written warning after one verbal warning. 
    4. What does your disciplinary plan usually look like? If I am not following the three step process, sometimes I can put an employee on probation. If there is an issue that may take time to resolve or performance needs to be improved, I will work with the employee to develop goals and expectations to be met. This allows me to check in on their progress and intervene before further action is taken. 
    5. Do you collect anything from the employee before termination? At the time an employee is terminated I collect their badge and parking pass.
    6. Do you offer warnings before disciplinary action or dismissal is taken? Yes unless it is a very serious and fireable offense. 
    7. If disciplining or firing someone goes wrong, or the employee responds inappropriately, how would you handle that? I can get HR or security involved if it comes to that.
    8. Do you give the employee an opportunity to “defend themselves”? Do you offer second chances based on what they say? Most of the employees I have had to fire have had several discussions with me prior to dismissal. I do want to know their perspective on things, but I try not to jump to conclusions. Once I am at the point of firing an employee, they have already had several chances to discuss their behavior with me. Because I am not quick to fire employees, I usually do not offer second chances. 
    9. After firing an employee, how do your other employees typically respond? I have never had any issues with other employees getting upset. Typically issues leading to an employee being fired have taken a toll on the other employees, so they are understanding of the situation. 
    10. After disciplinary action is taken or someone is fired, how do you motivate your other employees? How do you keep your other employees accountable? Our department is very goal motivated and oriented. Individuals are compensated based on their own performance, so this is not usually an issue. The only negative impact is sometimes a heavy work load for a few weeks. 

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