Firing someone? Incorporate Dignity, Grace, and Respect

Today is “Black Monday”; the day many NFL coaches will be publicly fired. We will hear about the head coaches with household names. However, behind the scenes, we do not hear about all the assistants, strength coaches, personnel community, nutritional experts, etc.

Whether in a pro football organization, or a small business, a termination is painful for each party involved. (If it is not painful, then perhaps something else is going on…). As leaders, we must be sure to treat each termination with empathy, and respect for that other human being. People who suffer job loss go through some predictable emotional stages, including lowered self-esteem, despair, shame, anger, and feelings of rejection. While you may have plenty of legally relevant reasons for the termination, you are still severing a large part of that human being’s life.

To find a new role, the person may have to uproot their family, deplete their savings, and in some situations, seek assistance just to feed their children and themselves.

When a termination is not handled in a dignified manner, business people ought to realize the other employees are seeing a very clear message: “We don’t care about you or anyone else.” When the company does not care about employees, the employees do not care about the business. Customers feel the attitude, too, and it leads to performance, product, and balance sheets suffering.

Not every employer can provide a healthy severance package. But even small concessions can go a long way toward helping the employee, as well as those employees left behind.

HR can review their resume and LinkedIn profile, help them understand their Unemployment Insurance and COBRA rights, and an executive can introduce them to an outside resource. I am sure you can think of some additional ways to assist, too. Please leave your suggestions below.

Here’s to a great 2016, where we all find joy and fulfillment in our roles, as well as happiness with our lives outside the business community.

For more ways to ensure legally compliant and morally respectful termination decisions, contact me at 


Steve Lovig, is known as a “Different Kind of HR Leader,” a Human Resources Executive with expertise in Human Capital Management, Employee Relations, Retention, Training, Recruiting, and Cultural Improvements.

Contact via or 404-791-7454.




Checklist for Recruiting and Interviewing

Especially if you have an “HR Department of 1” and are perhaps new to HR and Recruiting, I’ve developed this simple checklist to keep you on-track as you start the candidate search process.

Pre-Candidate (Recruiting) Stage

(for Organizations with Internal Recruiters)

  1. Hiring Manager receives approval to fill / backfill position
  2. Hiring Manager and Recruiter partner to ensure Job Description is revised as needed
  3. Recruiter confirms appropriate Salary Range equity (internal and external)
  4. Recruiter posts Job Opening (remember your Employee Referral Program)
    • Perhaps “Post” on Company Bulletin Board?
  5. Recruiter and Hiring Manager both post Job Opening on her/his LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other posting options (niche sites; University job boards; etc.)
  6. Recruiter posts on various external sites (both Free and Fee-based), per Job- or Industry-specific needs
    • Typically, start with your Company’s site.
    • You can find dozens of free sites available, including each State’s DOL, SimplyHired, Indeed, ResumeBucket, Goggle+, etc.
  7. When Internal and/or Free Recruiting is slow or ineffective, your Recruiter should connect with Job- or Industry-specific Headhunters
    • Also post on “paid” job boards
  8. Recruiting receives and reviews resumes
  9. Recruiting sends “initially-approved” resumes to Hiring Manager for review. S/he gives OK for Initial candidate list
  10. Recruiting starts Initial Phone Screen interviews

Candidate Stage    

  1. Based on results of Phone screen interviews, Recruiting and Hiring Manager develop final slate of Candidates
  2. Recruiting is responsible for setup of on-site Interviews, including ensuring each Interviewer has Interview Guide materials
  3. Hiring Manager, and others interviews in person; if good job fit, candidate continues process
  4. Recapping with all Interviewers, Recruiting leads Discussion and Decision Process
  5. Recruiting to call each Candidate not chosen to move forward in the Interviewing process, thanks them for their interest in Company, and wishes them well (do this within 3 business days)
  6. Note that your Recruiter should be providing Hiring Managers weekly progress reports

Human Resources SWOT Analysis

Goal – identify Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) in Human Capital practices. An HR SWOT analysis involves identifying issues and finding solutions before they become unmanageable. View the SWOT analysis as an assessment of what the organization is doing right, how things might be done differently, more efficiently, or at reduced costs, and what must be addressed immediately.

S: HR strengths include strategy and functionality, building a top-tier workforce, being an employer of choice.

W: Weaknesses may stem from budget constraints, employee morale, high turnover.

O: Opportunities could come from workforce growth, demand for products and services, translating to higher wages, growth for surrounding communities, longer tenure.

T: Offering better working conditions, higher wages, more desirable benefits by others, cause difficulty recruiting best-qualified people.


  1. Talent Management
  2. Performance management / Disciplinary issues
  3. Recruiting / Talent Acquisition
  4. Compensation
  5. Personnel Policies
  6. HRIS practices
  7. Payroll System / Time-keeping
  8. Employee Benefits
  9. New-employee orientation
  10. Training and Development
  11. Compliance
  12. Government Contractor conformity


  1. Talent Management
    1. Ensure thorough understanding of company strategies, objectives
    2. Review competitive landscape, current, and potential business challenges
    3. A-Player vs. D-Player talent; ensure rankings in-line with business model
    4. 360-feedback
    5. Cultural realities
  1. Performance management
    1. Disciplinary issues; what, handling of
    2. Performance Reviews
    3. Terminations; policies and actions
    4. Employee Relations
    5. Employee Satisfaction
    6. Legal charges, complaints, resolutions
    7. Conflict Resolution
    8. Handling of Absences, Tardiness
  1. Recruiting / Talent Acquisition procedures
    1. Interviewing process
    2. Interview training
    3. Job Descriptions
    4. Background screening, Pre-Employment assessments
    5. Hiring processes; Forms & Tools
    6. Online / Social presence
    7. Recruiters vs. Agencies
    8. ATS system
  1. Compensation
    1. Salary adjustments; frequency, reasoning, fairness
    2. Base-pay increases
    3. Short-term incentives
    4. Discretionary awards, spot bonuses
    5. Long-term incentives
    6. Commissions
    7. Benchmarking
    8. 401(k) / other Retirement options
  1. Personnel Policies
    1. Performance and Discipline
    2. PTO, Holidays
    3. Absence without notice; Tardiness and call-in
    4. IT usage / Social 
  1. HRIS (must have data to make decisions)
    1. Current vs. needed
    2. Existing reports, Reports required
      1. Headcount
      2. Retention / Turnover
        1. Staffing needs, future pipelines
        2. Recruiting timelines / Time to fill
        3. Open Positions / # unfilled and why
        4. Effectiveness of Source
        5. Promotions / Internal moves
        6. Terminations / Reasons
        7. Absences, tardiness
        8. Age, Zip code, other Demographic breakouts
        9. Employee Survey input and follow-up
  1. Payroll System / Time-keeping practices
    1. Automation vs. manual
    2. Rounding up
    3. Corrections
    4. Dates
  1. Employee Benefits
    1. Medical
    2. Dental, Vision, STD, LTD, Life
    3. Fringe benefits per employee feedback
    4. Costs vs./ Value
  1. New-employee orientation forms
    1. Offer letter
    2. First day
    3. First 90 days; Expectations / Goals
    4. Provide feedback quickly
    5. Recognize achievements early
    6. Day-180, Day-365
  1. Training and Development
    1. Safety / Security / Workplace Violence
    2. Non-Harassment / Non-Discrimination
    3. Certified Interviewer
    4. Tracking and Reporting
  1. Compliance
    1. FLSA Classifications; Contract Employees
    2. Healthcare Reform (ACA), tracking, 2015 reports
    3. FMLA, ADAA, and other Leave requirements
    4. Employee Handbook
    5. EEOC requests for information
    6. Personnel files
    7. HIPPA
    8. I-9 & E-Verify
    9. Inspection and evaluation of physical facilities
    10. Workers’’ Compensation policies and practices
    11. Posters
  1. Government Contractor Compliance
    1. Affirmative Action Plan
    2. EEO-1
    3. EEOC Classifications
    4. Minimum wages

The Future Is Now!!

 You may remember the Saturday morning cartoon, The Jetsons.  They had flying cars, wrist watches that doubled as phones, and video-based communications; we do not have the flying cars yet, but we do have wrist watch-based phones, and we have videophones.  And those videophones are set to take over the job hunting interviewing process.


About 25% of companies are taking advantage of Skype and what it has to offer.  The most obvious usefulness is how well prepared and/or serious a candidate will be when doing this interview. Get familiar with the technical aspects of Skype – use it with family or friends a few times so that you will be prepared when (not “if”) you are asked to be a part of a Skype interview.  Ensure you are not constantly looking down toward your monitor, but instead, like a TV reporter is taught to do; look at the camera, and think of it as the “eyes of your interviewer.” 

 A couple more Skype etiquette tips:

  • Even though you will most likely be doing your Skype interview from home, be sure to look your best!  Use the same professional dress code you would follow for an in-person interview. 
  • Avoid distractions:
    • Turn off other computer programs
    • Turn off your cell phone
    • Close doors to avoid children, pets, or other interruptions.
  • Ask for a contact number once you have logged in; in case any technical challenges arise, you’ll be able to call them back. 
  • Ask the interviewer if they can see and hear you well, before the ‘official’ start of the interview, so you can make any needed adjustments. 

Good luck with your job search, and have fun with your Video interview!  

Welcome to the World of the Effective HR Investigation

When bad stuff happens on the job, you need to secure your “HR Investigator hat” tightly, and follow these three steps:

1.  Find as much DATA as possible about the situation – emails, phone records, texts, etc.; anything in print or digital that helps you get your head around what you’re dealing with.

2.  Create a list of people you need to talk to.  Order them in a way where early interviews are really about collecting data to add to #1.  As you get later in your interview schedule, you will talk to people closer to the issue in question.

3.  When you start interviewing the primaries in the situation (those who know what the truth is, you just have to get it out of them) you do the following:

a. Use the data you have to gradually rein them in to agreement on the general situation in question.

b. Use critical data points to test if they are telling you the truth – you generally need data from #1 to do this.

c. If you catch them in a lie related to 3b, use that fact to leverage them to come clean and give you even more than they were going to.

d. Repeat. Don’t be scared to stay in an interview for a couple of hours if needed.  These are often tough conversations


Welcome to the world of the effective HR investigation.  If it sounds like nasty business, that’s because it can be.  The best HR Leaders are really good at what I’ve outlined above.  What suggestions would you add to my list?

Recently, there’s been a lot of focus on developing management skills; we’re told good management skills result in good results. Although this is true, you CAN get extraordinary results from “Ordinary People.”

The secret of people who tend to get extraordinary results is distinguished by the fact that they are not just managers, but leaders.  Those who get extraordinary results tend to be extraordinary leaders.  Let’s see how this can help YOU:


Extraordinary leaders recognize every one of their people, given the right circumstances and challenges, have the potential to produce extraordinary results.  Look for various strengths in your people.


Great leaders lead by example.  If you are positive, dedicated, persistent, and goal-oriented, then you will develop this sort of atmosphere within your team.


Dale Carnegie outlined principles for perfect human relationships, one of which is “Give people a high reputation to live up to.”  Tell your people what you are trying to achieve, explain the importance of their contributions, train them to be effective, and then invest confidence and belief in them.


In his book ‘How to Become a Better Boss,’ Jeffrey Fox suggests you spend 90 percent of your coaching time with your top performers. Don’t assume your top performers need no time just because they are getting results; these people are your gold – treasure them.


Almost every study on why people leave jobs or stay in jobs highlights the key role of “Recognition.”  Catch people doing something right; Thank them Privately, then Praise them Publicly.

Evolving from a good manager to an extraordinary leader requires some additional focus.  Doing all of those things that make the people who work for you look and feel good about what they are doing, and modeling the attitude and behaviors you want from them, will result in some great results.

I stumbled across this article from last year, but I apologize; I do not have the original author’s information.  If you know it, please let me know so I can give proper credit. 


You’ve probably seen dozens of articles about things to do while unemployed.  I bet I’ve read about all of them, as I progress through my own journey of finding a new job.


But there is something I haven’t seen that is VERY important:  taking care of yourself physically.  My journey included adding 30 extra pounds due to stress while wrapping up my previous job.  I saw a photo of myself, and could not believe how overweight I looked.  So part of my job search has been focused on losing weight.  If you have done so (or are thinking about it), you know that dropping 30 to 40 pounds has incredible health benefits.  When you look good and feel good, you can present a “better you” in an interview.


For many of us, the word ‘exercise’ does not sound like fun, so don’t use that word!  Think of something you enjoy that moves your body: walk around your neighborhood, go for a swim, ride your bike (my personal preference), dance, make your desk chair an exercise ball, etc.


Doing something fun gives you time to unwind, and to think clearly about your job search.  It’s true; endorphins make you feel good.  When you feel good about yourself, you project a more confident persona, and remember, it’s all about presenting the best you in an interview.

Let me know what other suggestions you have for dealing with the stress of a job search. I’d love to hear from you!