How do you terminate a non-performer?
It is easy to recruit an employee, but difficult to terminate one. And the laws of Uganda make it so difficult to terminate an employee even when they are non-performers.
That if you are reckless employer.
To ensure that you don’t keep liability staff in your company, the following guidelines may be handy.
Give a performance based employment contract.
Sit down with the employee and agree on top 5 key performance targets (what to be achieved) and their performance indicators (what will show that it has been achieved). It is recommended you pay basic salary and a bonus based on hitting the targets. Your contract should provide for termination of staff who consistently fails to hit targets for three [or a specified number of] consecutive months.
The performance contract should provide for (i) ongoing review of the performance targets to ensure that they are owned and co-developed. You want to avoid the staff lying that your targets were unachievable. Error on having peer review and accountability for the agreed targets. That way, they will be on your side. You don’t want a staff to be terminated for their none-performance and blackmail your company as one that gives unrealistic targets.
Meet regularly with all staff and review top-level targets
For a performance based contract to be effective, you must be transparent. Meet with your team, and share the top level targets. In the meeting, ask staff not comfortable with any of their targets to meet you or their immediate supervisor after the meeting and review the targets. Ensure staff sign on the revised targets as the agreed position.
Keep a record of all your meetings. Ensure all staff sign on the minutes of performance review meetings and general staff meetings where issues of performance and target setting are discussed. Use email or letters to staff for failure to meet the targets.
The law may be protective of employees, but not when you have done your best to help them add value to your business. If you have evidence that a staff is unable to do the work you recruited them to do, due to incompetence or indiscipline, no law can protect them.
Before terminating any employee, know the law. Labour laws must be observed, just as your internal company policies and procedures.
To be on a safer side, it is recommended that in your termination letter, don’t state the reasons for the termination. Just write; “due to the poor business environment, our business has contracted, and are increasily unable to keep all our staff. Unfortunately, you are one of the staff the company feels, may not be able to keep effective [xxx] date. In line with your performance contract, after a proper handover of your office to your immediate assistant, you will be paid any amounts due to you. I take this opportunity to thank you for working with us.]
With that, you are ready to go.
That way, you avoid so many legal battles and anything in between. The more details you have, the more you expose yourself.
That is why, suspects like the word: “I don’t remember. I don’t know,” during any cross examination.