“Marilyn, as the new sales director, I’ve been reviewing everyone’s sales numbers going back two years, and with all due respect, you haven’t been coming close to the monthly quota for quite some time. Are you aware of that? [Yes] I respect the fact that you’ve been with the organization for 25 years, but I’m afraid I’m going to have reestablish monthly sales quotas for everyone, and that may be difficult for you for various reasons.
“In a spirit of full transparency, I’d have to issue you a documented written warning at this point confirming that you haven’t hit your numbers at least for the past two years. I’d include what the go-forward quotas will need to look like in addition to the fact that there will be further disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, for anyone who’s not meeting those numbers.
“Then again, I wanted to meet with you in advance to discuss this with you in case you’d like to consider other options. First, if you’re totally willing to recommit to your role and the new monthly sales expectations, we’d be happy to support you in any way we can. On the other hand, there may be a larger opportunity here for your consideration: would exploring other opportunities outside the company while you’re still employed make sense for you at this point in your career? Or would leaving now on your own terms allow you an honorable exit strategy?
“I’m asking because I want you to have options, especially if you’re not all that excited about having new monthly sales deliverables. If you’d prefer to step down from your role, Marilyn, I’ll also proffer one more idea for you to think about. We could consider putting together what we’d call a ‘separation package’ for you. We would typically model it on the severance formula, which states that an employee is eligible for one week of severance pay for each year of service. As a 25-year employee, you would be eligible for a 25-week severance package, or roughly six months.
“Further, we wouldn’t contest your unemployment claim. If you choose to go that route, we would ask you to sign a release, which is a hold harmless agreement confirming that you waive your right to sue the company for any disagreements or other issues. Further, you’d have the opportunity to communicate your decision to your teammates however you’d like (without telling them about the separation package, though).
“What’s important for you to remember, though, is that this is all strictly up to you. We’ll accept whatever decision you make. If you were to tell us that you’d rather remain employed and commit to the existing sales quote structure, we’ll all commit to supporting you. If you decide that you’d rather remain employed and look for another job on company time, so to speak, we’ll be okay with that as well as long as you keep us as your priority and always give us at least 24 hours’ notice so that we could arrange for back-up floor support. And if you decide that you’d rather accept a 25-week separation package in exchange for a release, we’d certainly accept that as well.
“There’s no need to come to a decision now. Feel free to think about this, sleep on it, and let me know how you feel about it. And of course, you could speak with me one-on-one at any time to discuss the matter confidentially. In fact, I’d encourage you to discuss it with an attorney to make sure you understand your rights – Again, we want you to handle this however you feel most comfortable and not feel any pressure to rush to make a decision. Maybe you could let me know by Friday, this way you could discuss it with your family and friends and give it ample consideration, okay? [Yes] Thanks for coming into this meeting and discussing this with us today.”