Firing&Disciplining

For this interview, I interviewed Brady MacKay. He spent 25 years as a Drug Enforcement Administration Special agent. Following his retirement from the DEA, he was the CEO of Magnum Fortus, a law enforcement agent professional development company. He currently works as the Director of Corporate Security and as the Director of China operations for BGZ Brands. Over the course of his adult life in his different jobs he has hired and fired near 1000 individuals.

1. What is your process of steps to take before firing an employee?

“-Give them ample opportunity to improve and let them change by understanding expectations.

-Make sure they have a way to account for fulfilling those expectations

-Regular reviews of their expectations

-Necessary warnings given, if they fail to meet them

-Training provided to help them succeed

-Disciplinary steps when they fail to meet them”

2. Who else is involved during the firing process? 

“You would want to involve the head of HR and their manager.”

3. How many steps are involved from first offense to dismissal?

“It depends, if it is a major breach of integrity, it would be a single offense, but in other cases there may be a couple of warnings with the second one have a punitive action.”

4. What does your disciplinary plan usually look like?

“Layout expectations, monitor, account for expectations, correct if necessary, point out failures to meet expectations with employee with encouragement and consequences explained, warnings to include disciplinary action all the while documenting every step of the way.”

5. Do you collect anything from the employee before termination?

“Company property, access cards, codes, computers etc…”

6. Do you offer warnings before disciplinary action or dismissal is taken?

“Yes, to be fair to people. You have to give them ample opportunity to correct their actions. No employee should ever be surprised when they are terminated.”

7. If disciplining or firing someone goes wrong, or the employee responds inappropriately, how would you handle that?

“Point out their inappropriate behavior/response. Review with them once again the expectations they agreed to. Remind them they are an employee and what that means, they are subject to the management of he company. Escort them out, if need be.”

8. Do you give the employee an opportunity to “defend themselves”? Do you offer second chances based on what they say?

“You give them a change to defend themselves but by the time they are terminated they’ve already had second chances.”

9. After firing an employee, how do your other employees typically respond?

“If they are close with that employee it will shake them emotionally. But if its an underperforming employee, in many cases they are happy they are gone.”

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?

“Give them a pep talk on the mission and purpose of the company and how we are all working towards. Get them excited to work for the company and the standard that everyone is expected to meet.”

The most important thing that I learned through the interview was the importance of communication between manager and employee. It really stuck out to me when he explained that no person should be surprised when and if they are terminated. There should be clear expectations from the very beginning of what is expected for the employee during their employment. Because of that there is a clear path to performance and behavior that each employee should and must follow. I also appreciated how Mr. MacKay discussed the importance of warnings. Despite the expectations that are outlined, people are not perfect and that they will fail at times. Because of that, giving people warnings allows them to learn and hopefully get better so that termination does not have to occur. If they do fail, regardless of warnings, they will know why. People will be terminated and so it is important to clearly communicate with the other employee and keep them focused on everything the company stands for and is striving to do. This will keep moral up and help keep people motivated.

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