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November 27, 2012

Pink Slips

What are pink slips?


You may have heard someone say about a fellow colleague: “He has been handed the pink slip”. Have you ever wondered what is this exactly?


The term “pink slip” is a casually used but popular term for a termination letter given to an employee from his employer. The source of this slang is not known clearly, and is American, but it is quite popular in India as well.


Why should someone be handed the pink slip?


There could be many issues for which an employee may face termination of his services, but one must keep in mind that it is an extreme step, and an employer is forced to take this harsh action in very critical situations. Someone may leave a job on his own, but being fired from a position is totally different.


There could be some serious conduct issues. No one gets a pink slip for a minor offence like not abiding to the dress code of a company. An individual may have done something that affects the reputation of his company in the industry – like accepting bribes, unethical activities, etc. Employees are assets to the organization, and no firm wishes to lose its human resources. Some incidents may call for a warning first and if the offence is repeated by the defaulter, he is handed the pink slip.


There could be crunch situations like the recent economic recession, when a company has to explore various options to cut down its operating costs. Downsizing of teams is an extreme option, but sometimes the situation becomes so critical that the employer is forced to terminate few employees.


An employee who does not meet the expectations of his immediate managers also may get the pink slip if he does not show signs of improvement even after repeated warnings, counseling sessions from the HR team or training.


How to handle such situations?


First and foremost, don’t break the code of conduct of your company or indulge in unethical activities consciously. If you happen to witness someone participating in any misdeed, condemn him and also bring it to the notice of his immediate manager.


God forbid, but if you are the employee facing the brunt of this extreme step, keep a cool head and analyse the reason for being handed the pink slip. If you think there is a possibility of mending your mistake, convey it to the management with a written apology for your actions. In case, it is best for you to leave, assess how much time you have in hand and start looking for a job straightaway. Do not talk about it to your colleagues as it makes them jittery. Concentrate on the path ahead.


Similarly, if your colleague has been sacked, do not increase his woes by probing about it. Offer a patient ear to him if he wishes to talk about it, but do not ever share any details with a third person.


If it is a economy based decision, and a company has to optimize its employee strength, the concerned individual has to be given some time before he hands over his tasks to someone else and looks for another job. He may also look at different options for earning money – such as part time jobs or consultancy for his knowledge in a particular field.


And if you are the person who has to take the decision to sack someone, take full stock of the situation in which the misdeed was done and what events led up to it. Identify the people involved. Assess the impact on the company’s image and credibility, and decide the nature of punishment to be meted out to the miscreants. If handing the pink slip is the best solution, make sure that you give sufficient time to the employee to look for an alternative job. Firing someone is a difficult job, but being the one to be shown the door is much worse. Convey to him the payments he is likely to get on account of this sudden dismissal and expedite all formalities in this context.


What is the impact on others?


It is often that employees do not know exactly why a fellow colleague has been terminated. This creates a feeling among them that anything could happen to them anytime, without any clear reason. Out of this insecurity, people tend to panic. Some of them start looking for alternative employment opportunities without waiting for the extreme situation to arise.


The management has to be careful while taking such a harsh decision – because it could have serious repercussions on the concerned employee as well as his colleagues. This shakes the trust of employees towards the management and difficult situations like strikes may arise.


Handling motivational issues


It is needless to say that when an individual is asked to resign from his present job, others around him begin to panic in their confusion. Some rumours start doing rounds based on hearsay and speculation. This aggravates the insecurity in employees and has a direct impact on their productivity. They feel demotivated to put their best and wonder what may be coming their way.


It is essential to stop any gossip at the very roots. The termination of an employee in an extreme situation should be done in a confidential manner, so that he can serve the last days of his tenure with dignity without being asked uncomfortable questions.


The news of his leaving should be shared with his colleagues of the same department by the head, after the concerned employee has left. It should be explained why this action was necessary. The head should maintain a positive spirit and also convey to the rest of the team that the show must go on. He should discourage them from getting jittery or entering the panic mode. Assurance should be given that unless any critical situation arises, such harsh steps would be avoided by the management as far as possible. He should encourage his team to continue working with renewed endeavour and not get depressed.

Tags : pink slip, pink slips, why pink slipsare given, what are pink slips, termination, firing

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.