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Delivering the Hard Message: Employee Termination

Linnea Appleby Comments

We entrust the care and management of our multimillion-dollar facilities to what we hope are competent, honest, well-intended employees, but sometimes there is a gap between what we expect from them and what we get. We then experience the emotional turmoil of what to do about that gap.

Frequently, an owner or operator would rather ignore it, settling for poor performance rather than rocking the boat. The worry is that staff will walk out, leaving the owner in a bind. In our business, we speak to operators who are frequently frustrated by the fact that employees run the place their way as opposed to the way the owner wants things done.

Owner-managed facilities face a complicated dilemma. It’s easy to become friendly with staff and lose that employer/employee relationship. When that happens, providing direction and counseling becomes a challenge. Terminating someone for poor performance can be difficult for both parties.

Here are some tips to help soften the delivery of a hard message:


1. Be fair. Consider the events that have lead to your decision. Was there coaching, counseling and disciplinary actions? Did the employee know your expectations and knew he was not meeting them? Is there another lateral position in your company that this person may be right for? A termination should never come as a surprise.

2. Decide how you will handle items like the apartment, the employee’s use of a unit, benefits or bonuses, if applicable. It is best that the terminated employee has no cause to be on the property after the termination so he or she will have no reason to speak with tenants.

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