As you lead, personnel decisions will be the most time-consuming and challenging to make. Most will be some shade of gray – not black and white and obvious. Below are some final thoughts related to making wise personnel decisions.
How do you fire someone?
For some Kingdom leaders it may come as a surprise that part of your job is not just to hire great people, but also to fire (out-place) some. Ugghhh! No leader likes to fire others. It can be a stomach-turning experience. But, there are times when it is the best thing to do for the person and for the mission.
In today’s litigious society, it is very wise to get counsel involved in any firing process. Experts in HR and labor laws should be in your circle of counsel. And make sure these resource people are in on any conversation early in the process. These advisors know the legal ‘landmines’ to avoid when firing someone and other consequences that may result like severance packages, unemployment obligations, how to communicate the termination to staff and the public, etc.
In particular, it is very important to document the process involved when terminating an employee (have a paper trail). Keep records of job descriptions, annual reviews, conversations had regarding work performance, emails, etc. It should not be a surprise to the person being fired when they are asked to resign.
After termination, questions may arise when we are asked by someone’s new, potential employer when they are doing a background check. What to say – legally and ethically should be examined. Or, after terminating an employee, we may find out that they are now serving in a different ministry that did not contact us or do a background check with us as to their employment history. Depending upon the reason for termination, we may have ethical choices to make on whether to talk to their new employer as to their history with us.
Terminating someone’s employment – whether it be for a sin issue (i.e. moral failure) or lack of doing what was agreed to or expected for the job – must be well-thought through. What is communicated to team members, ministry members, financial donors and the general public needs to be examined by multiple parties. There are certain legal issues that may constrain what can and cannot be said to these various audiences. Don’t just “wing it!”
Don’t expect agreement on personnel decisions. These are judgment calls and there are good reasons on all sides of any decision. Ask the Holy Spirit’s help in these decisions and trust Him to lead you.
And finally, remember – some personnel decisions may look bad in the short term, but long term are seen as wise. Wisdom is known by its children! Luke 7:35