You’re Fired! How to Terminate Someone and Still Be a Good Person

If you are an HR professional or a business owner, you have terminated your fair share of employees. I promised myself if it ever became an easy and carefree act, I needed to step away from being an HR professional. I guide clients to follow the golden rule, “treat others how you would want to be treated,” Whatever the actual reason for termination, the individual deserves to be treated with respect. Whether it’s a productivity issue, attendance problem, or if the employee sucker punched a co-worker.That being said, you must also be direct, clear, and definitive.

Here are a few things you can do to help the process go a little smoother,

1.     Have the right policies in place and be absolutely sure that everyone knows them

I can’t stress enough the importance of having an Employee Handbook that includes the code of conduct, employee expectations, and disciplinary process. It’s great to have policies but ensure that employees are trained on the standards of the company. The employee should sign off and indicate that they have read the handbook in it’s entirety. During the termination, refer back to the section in the Employee Handbook that the employee violated.

2.    Terminations should never be a surprise

The final meeting shouldn’t be a shock to the employee. Either you have coached the employee about the violation or the behavior is so egregious that a reasonable person would understand the consequences. Coach and corrective action would take place if something like performance issues are taking place and they just aren’t cutting it. Immediate termination would likely occur if the employee steals from the employer and corrective action is skipped over to move right to termination.

3.     Don’t delay the inevitable

There isn’t a perfect day to terminate someone. Some researchers say that Friday’s are the best day but it’s going to be hard on both parties despite the day. You shouldn’t delay because it gives the wrong message to the employee and possibly the other members of your team. In essence, you are condoning the behavior of the employee or negatively impacting your company. Yes, it should be done privately and away from other team members. When you are making a decision, think to yourself, “how would I want to be treated in this situation?”

Be sure that you document, document, document employee violations and behaviors. The documentation will assist in the termination process and ultimately support your decision. Terminating an employee is tough but turnover can produce a positive impact throughout your organization. I would suggest taking a partner, such as an HR professional that can make the process easier for everyone. 

Are Your New Employees Leaving? You’re Not Alone.



A Korn Ferry study found that according to 90 percent of executives, 10-25 percent of newly hired employees leave the business voluntarily within the first 6 months of employment. Leaders can't help but feel frustrated when their recent hires turn in their two-weeks notice. After all, the company just spent time, money, and resources to recruit, hire, and train the new member for their team. After wiping away their annoyance, leaders can often only ask one question:

"Why are you leaving?"

There are 3 main reasons that new employees are leaving:

1) The position wasn’t what they expected based on the interview process
2) They didn’t like the company culture and immediate workgroup
3) There wasn’t a training process and were not given the right tools to do their job

The hiring process can be tricky. It’s important for employers to paint a realistic preview of the position and the expectations of the role. It’s even helpful if the candidates can meet the other team members and leaders before the official employment begins. If it’s not a good fit for the company or the employee, it will not be a rewarding experience for either party. Spending time upfront in the hiring process will make all the difference in the long run.

Hiring and retaining employees can be tricky. The good news is, you don't have to do it alone. Check out the recruiting services offered on our site. 

3 Ways Business Owners Can be Better in 2017

Every business owner is being bombarded with the same headlines, “Are You Ready for 2017?” or “Is Your Business in Shape for the New Year?” It can be daunting to feel the pressure of a new year and so many alleged action items, meanwhile you are still in 2016.

 It takes a willingness to start working on the little things that may have slipped through the cracks. The things that may never get attention as the previous year has flown by.  

Here are 3 tips that fellow business owners say are making a difference TODAY and will improve their business and themselves for the remainder of 2017,


1.         Clean out your calendar’s closet. Create a list of all of the professional and social organizations that you and your business have joined or committed to. All of the clubs, groups, organizations, and affiliations can add up quickly! Your time should be spent with activities that are serving multi-purpose and taking you one step closer to your personal or professional goals. Identify the WHY of each organization and if it’s not adding value then save the membership fees for a night out! (or be responsible and save it…)

 2.         Start enjoying the perks. Almost every local or national membership includes perks upon joining. There may be a variety of member benefits, such as, special travel rates, free virtual assistance hours, or even a free consultation with a career coach. During the holidays, most professionals attend fundraisers or charitable events and receive a benefit based on their contribution or attendance. By the end of the night, it’s lost or long forgotten. It’s great to give (keep doing that), but stop neglecting the free bottle of wine or even the silent auction you may have bid on at the beginning of the night! By ignoring the perks, you are actually doing more harm than good. You could have just created more work for the coordinator or impacted the report identifying that members are unhappy or unfamiliar with membership benefits. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, enjoy the perks!

3.         Create a simple plan for the 3 P’s. Strategic planning is important to the success and sustainability of any business. Some business owners revisit their strategic plan quarterly while others review it monthly. Do what’s right for your business but ensure that the 3 P’s are covered, Purpose, People and Profit.  Know why you are in business and what you are ultimately working towards. Is the business internally and externally fulfilling the mission? What goals do you have for yourself and your team? Will you be hiring? Does my product or service need to changed to increase sales? It’s okay to talk to yourself, as long as it helps create your plan.


The truth is every human being has the goal of being better than they were the year before. We do not have to wait for a new year to roll around to start taking small steps in the right direction today. Don’t give up on December, use this time to invest in improving yourself, your family, and your business. 

Mid-Year Review Blues

It’s that time again, mid year reviews! Can you believe it? We are half way through 2016! Tell me this…where are you in comparison to the vision board or your goal board that you created at the beginning of the year? Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s not too late. So, let’s look in the mirror, recap the first half of the year, then create a game plan for the last half.


Find a quiet space, get into a non-judgment headspace and complete the following:


1.         Grab 2 sheets of paper - label one as personal accomplishments and the other as professional accomplishments

2.         Take the time to seriously reflect on projects, assignments, new experiences, relationships, and goals from January 1st until now

3.         Compared to your vision for this year - what stacks up? How have you done - really?

4.         Give yourself credit for all the good you’ve done and the work you put in


Remember the year isn’t over yet!! Finish the year strong by doing this:


1.         Write out specific and realistic goals for the remainder of the year

2.         Identify what habits or attitudes you need to change in order to reach those goals

3.         Set a date! Assign a timeline that makes sense and even pushes you a little!

4.         Make the necessary steps to reach your goals

5.         Re-evaluate weekly and schedule a meeting with yourself to reflect/revise


LinkedIn Optimization & What You Need to Know

A 90-minute workshop for all levels of LinkedIn users, from "What's LinkedIn?" to "500+ connections." Every participant will view a live demonstration of LinkedIn mandatory updates. 

Recruiters are moving away from job boards and utilizing the vast power of LinkedIn to find qualified applicants. Even your current employer wants to learn more about your online presence.

LinkedIn is an effective way to,

  • Build your professional network
  • Execute a career change
  • Research an employer
  • Learn more about another industry

Light refreshments provided! 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar


Willis Professional Services - 1509 Lady Street, Columbia, SC 29201 - View Map

Do You Really Want to Quit Your Job?

Do you dread going to work? 

Feeling undervalued or unappreciated? 

Maybe you just know there just has to be something better out there for you?


It could be time to QUIT!

You know that you have been daydreaming about it constantly. But, do you really want to quit?

Limited seats available for this impactful 90-minute workshop to determine

  • What are your real motives for moving on

  • How to actually prepare to quit your job

  • Learn more about the business etiquette of quitting 

  • How to write an effective resignation letter

  • How to move on without burning bridges

Light refreshments provided! 


Sunday, July 17, 2016 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar


Willis Professional Services - 1509 Lady Street, Columbia, SC 29201 - View Map

Online Tools That Will Help You Get Promoted

It’s time for your mid-year review and what have you done to stand out?!

Register for a professional development session that help you get noticed and take your career to the next level.

 WARNING: After this session, you may be deemed as tech savvy, resourceful, and effective!

Get ready for an interactive 90-minute session, you will leave with…

  • A list of new sites and tools to make you a more well-rounded professional
  • An understanding of how to incorporate these new tools into your daily life
  • An ability to share your knowledge with your leadership team 

Don't wait until the end of the year to start shining! 

Light refreshments provided! 


Monday, July 18, 2016 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar


Willis Professional Services - 1509 Lady Street, Columbia, SC 29201 - View Map

Get Hired! Recruiter Job Search Secrets

Don’t you want to know what’s behind the screen? What are recruiters really looking for anyway?

Award-winning recruiters will share industry secrets in the job search process. Space is limited, register today to secure your seat! 

During this revealing 90-minute workshop,

  • They will even uncover job search myths vs facts
  • Recruiters will answer your questions and help you easily apply this information to your personal goals

Light refreshments provided! 


Wednesday, July 20, 2016 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar


Willis Professional Services - 1509 Lady Street, Columbia, SC 29201 - View Map

The Art of Networking - It Doesn't Have to Be Scary!

Why Do We Hate Networking? The funny part is that we all started networking on the playground! Over the years, our fears, insecurities, and lack of practice have gotten the best of us! 

Take charge of your career! Take charge of your business! 

Limited spaces are available for this 90 minute session, 

  • Learn the RIGHT Ways to Network

  • Techniques to Approach Anyone 

  • How to Land A Client and Even an Interview 

  • Post-Interview What Do You Do Next


Tuesday, July 12, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar


Willis Professional Services - 1509 Lady Street, Columbia, SC 29201 - View Map

Nine Ways Managers Can Support Multicultural Teams

Please click on the link below learn more about being a dynamic leader! Jada Willis, Willis Professional Services co-contributor to the Forbes article mentioned.


Your Professional Service Light is On: Maintenance Required

I was driving recently and a service light came on, saying “maintenance required.”  Life would be so much easier if a service light would flash to instruct us when we needed to update our resume, obtain a new skill, take a different path with our career or even go back to school.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a “maintenance required” light in life, but there are career coaches, resume writers, and HR professionals that can give us the tools to fix our career dilemmas and tune-up our broken down resumes.  Just as you hire a mechanic for your car, you need to hire a Resume Expert and Career Coach to work on your career!

5 People that Need a Tune-up with a Resume Writer

  • Becky’s resume doesn’t seem to be working! She keeps applying but keeps getting turndown emails
  • Ron really wants to apply for a position he’s passionate about and to make more money
  • Chris is trying to switch careers and just doesn’t know how to change his career
  • Brittany has employment gaps andseveral jobs in a short amount of time
  • Tyler is frustrated because he simply doesn’t know how to update his resume and frankly does not havetime

The 5 people mentioned are talented individuals that have a professional service light that is flashing. Who do you most relate to?

If you’re service light is on, I urge you to take care of your career by getting professional services from a Resume Expert.

Can’t Change Careers Right Now? How to Make the Best of Your Less-Than-Ideal Job

You dread going to work. You think of a million other things you would rather be doing or even think of a million excuses to call out from work so you can do them. Sometimes you just know that your job isn’t right for you. You could be bored, maybe you don’t feel like you are using your degree or skill set, or your boss is an idiot who thinks you’re an idiot. Your friends and family are tired of hearing you complain about your job and you know pretty soon something is going to give. The problem is you have responsibilities. You can’t just leave-you have a mortgage, car payment, and where do you even start looking for a new job?

The truth is that your lack of passion or interest in your current job is noticeable. It is also impacting your performance, attitude, and even health. Believe it or not, you can do a lot more than you think to change that feeling of dread and hopelessness. You can still search for a new position with a progressive company that you can really make a contribution and feel valued. But, what do you do in the meantime?

  1. Stop Complaining. You’re not helping your mood or the mood of anyone around you. Yes, your job sucks, everybody gets it. What are you doing about it? Try another approach in reflecting on your workday. Ask yourself, “did I help anyone today?” You can try setting that goal for yourself at the beginning of the day too, just aim to help someone or give out random acts of kindness. You can also quickly jot down two things you are thankful for at the end of the day. I know you probably hear it all the time, there are people who are unemployed that would love your job. And you respond, “well, they can have it!” That’s not true. At the very least, that position is giving you a paycheck that is taking care of all of your friends named Bill. It’s okay to be grateful and also be working on changing your career. Just because you find parts of your day dreadful doesn’t mean you have to be a dreadful individual.

  2. Look in the Mirror. No, seriously look in the mirror and ask yourself for the raw truth about your happiness. Specifically, what do you dislike about your job? Is it the work environment, the people, or the job tasks? Go deeper, what about the work environment, which people and why, and what specific job tasks? This is an important exercise because it helps identify what you should be looking for and avoiding in your next job search. To help you know what is controllable and non-controllable, put a “C” or “NC” besides each item you listed. All of the items that are controllable you can take immediate action to change.  Let me give you an example, you identified a specific person that is extremely negative and your conversations are never productive. If you can, reduce or limit your interaction with this individual. Another option is that you talk about something positive in your life and change. Your turn.

  3. Maximize Company Benefits. Some of the many benefits of your less-than-perfect job could be tuition assistance, discounts, fitness centers, health programs, etc. Get to know your benefits and utilize everything that is right for you. You want to be in great shape for your next opportunity, right? I stress the importance of using tuition assistance because this could propel you in moving into another career faster and also be highly skilled. You give a lot to the organization and these great benefits exist for a reason, but many employees leave them at the door. You have to make the best of where you are and what resources are available to you.

  4. Network with Everyone. Many people forget that their brand is so important to their next step. Change your attitude and talk to everyone. Is there a department where you do not know anybody? Strike up a conversation and get to know what they do on a daily basis. This is good information, and an added benefit is you are building relationships. You never know who your next boss or co-worker will be. Maybe you have no interest in staying with the company, they could be thinking about leaving too. Based on the relationships you have built, someone could connect with you via LinkedIn and think you are PERFECT for their new company. It happens every day, it’s happened to me! The key take away is stay positive and open to speaking to new people.

  5. Be the Best Version of You. You have already looked in the mirror and identified your controllable.  So, you are not going to be late to work anymore, leave early, or waste the company’s time, right? These simple behaviors are actually noticeable. Maybe you don’t care about the bridges you burn where you are, but what do you want to be known for? Would you want your kids mimicking your behavior? Be a better you for you! Even if no one sees all the great changes you have made, you will! It will slowly start lifting your mood and help you to take pride in what you do on a daily basis. If you can just work “THAT” company, you will be the best employee ever. Start now, right here and “THAT” company will come knocking.


There is so much you can do right now to help you feel a lot less miserable. There is light at the end of the tunnel. While you make these changes, don’t forget to be ready for the next interview. Is your resume updated? Are your interviewing skills sharp? Are you job searching on the regular? You should be able to answer “yes” to all of these. Willis Professional Services can help you become polished, confident, and really ready for your ideal job. Feel free to visit

5 Tips To Keep You Energized

By: Jada Willis

We have all been there! We have attended a seminar in our field, one that completely energized you and reignited your passion. We have all experienced the post-conference high, a euphoria that restores your confidence. You are a mover and a shaker! You managed to step away from the mundane day to day and received edge of your seat information for your field. A flood of creative thoughts and new ideas flood your mind. You feverishly take notes, spend time with like-minded people, and vow to implement all of your new found material immediately. You just know this is the turning point for you and your career.  The witty and charming speakers encouraged you to dream, laugh, and follow your path. During the conference you feel lighter, energetic, and optimist about the future. The lunch table is filled with your peers that understand your daily plights and actually get your jokes. You are on top of the world!

Suddenly, the conference comes to an end. You return home, unlock the door, and are immediately hit in the face with the piles of laundry on the floor and the dishes in the sink. After you spend the weekend catching up on anything and everything you missed, you start looking at an inevitable to-do list that continues to grow longer. Your schedule is packed and your days are back to back! Just then you remember the moments of complete focus you just experienced, all the notes you took, and the sea of good intentions. Like I said, we have all experienced that post-conference high! I don’t have the secret for staying in a constant headspace of creativity, but, I do know a few tricks that will keep you motivated and on the right track. Just like that magical conference intended…

1)      Within 48 hours of leaving the Conference, review your notes and make a realistic to-do list, and timeline.

Set aside an hour to review your notes, the handouts from the speakers, and any material you received. Start making a list of the most applicable pieces of information. You will want to assign a due date to each activity or take it a step further, look at your schedule and decide what day this activity will be complete. This could be before the expected due date. If it was a great conference and you received a lot of information, then you can even break into a plan to complete within 0-30 days, 30 days – 6 months, and 6 months – a year. Short and long term planning is helpful as long as you are taking action and following up. Post it somewhere you can see on a regular basis. This exercise will refresh your enthusiasm and give you a structured action plan for next steps.

2)      Turn business cards into “Business Buddies,” follow up with whom those you spoke within 2-3 days after the conference.

Whether you received 2 business cards or 20, if you were able to speak and connect with others at the conference then don’t let the conversation end there. The only way to even intermittently feel connected to that feeling of creativity is to stay connected with your industry colleagues. You can follow up through email, LinkedIn, or even a hand-written note. Hopefully, during the conference you made a note to personalize your interaction. (i.e. Bob in Accounting from Colorado that shares a love of traveling and skiing). Now, you need to personalize the contact you make with those that you met or hardly get to see at the conference. Foster that relationship and continue to build your network.

3)      Share the conference love!

The best way to make that feeling of creative freedom and focus last longer is to share your knowledge with others. Try to share significant information and relevant tools during relevant team meetings. If you have a supervisor, ensure they are aware of how your attendance at the conference will benefit your work performance, the department, or the company. Share your notes with your colleagues that were unable to attend the conference. The goal is to continue making the relevant pieces of the conference a part of your daily routine. As you talk about the knowledge acquired, you will be more likely to stay accountable to your post-conference to-do list.

4)      Identify and join similar organizations locally.

The easiest way to ignite this feeling and stay current on industry trends is to find a local group that has meetings with the topics that most inspired you. If you attended a Nursing Conference or a Graphic Designer getaway, then search for a professional organization, independent meet-up group, or social organization that has a focus in your specialty. Joining a group will improve your network, help you with learning new skills, and stay connected to your plan.

5)      Contribute to post-conference social media groups or create your own!

Let’s say you just attended a conference for Interior Designers, if there isn’t a group established through Facebook or other social media platforms after the Conference, then create your own. You can start with inviting the contacts that you know who attended and they can invite their contacts. If it is a professional organization, then you can also opt to volunteer your time or expertise. Again, this will continue your excitement and focus.

Here’s a final tip, if you really enjoyed your conference that much, then take time to write a review and shout it out via social media.

Don’t worry.  You can have it all! Incorporate the moments of both connectivity and creativity into your usual daily routine. It takes an effort on your part, but if you implement these 5 tips, you can maintain that post-conference high! Good luck and go forth!


5 Things You Should Know about Your Professional Brand

I have clients that come to me and ask, “isn’t professional brand just buzz words?” Whether you choose to call it your brand or not, you still have one. Everyone has a personal and professional brand. You can either let someone else define your brand or you can ensure you are dictating who you are and what you would like to be known for.

1. You may say, “I don’t care what people think.” In any environment, it’s human nature to make assumptions about people based on the interaction we have. If you have a friend that is always late to meet you, that is now a part of her personal brand. If you are always the first one to help a co-worker, then you have established that being a team-player isa part of your professional brand. What’s the point? It’s not a matter of caring what people think, it’s a matter of being the best you and letting everyone see those characteristics everyday!

2. Be true to yourself. Be authentic in your daily interactions and if you are making a conscious effort to establish your brand. It can be easy to see if someone is trying to be something that really are not. Do a quick self-assessment and be yourself!

3. What do you want to be known for? Find that thing that you are an expert on or something you offer that is hard to find. What is the overall feeling that you give people when walking away? What mark do you leave on projects or assignments when they are complete?

4. Check your face.  Someone that cannot control their body language could destroy their brand and career! Non-verbal cues tell us what people are thinking and feeling that may contradict what they are communicating. Be consistent and maintain composure through all situations.

5. Don’t forget your online brand. Employers will Google you and check out any social media profiles they have access to. Does your Facebook activity match your work personality? A genuine brand is something that goes beyond the 9-5. Be aware of the pictures and posts, ask yourself this, “would I want my employers to see this?”

If you have never thought about your professional brand before this could be overwhelming at first. Know this, your brand is built on consistent behaviors, actions, and attributes. What’s the point? You will make mistakes, you could say the wrong thing to a co-worker and it could not derail your brand. The key is consistency in your actions. If you have an off day, those that know you will recognize that. Start today in being the best you! #changestartswithyou

How to Know if You Are Interview Ready in 2015!

You finally got the call you have been waiting for, they want to meet with you! Will you be ready? Below is a quick checklist that can make or break getting a job offer!

1. Research the company and know their culture! Interviewers will be eager to find out if you are interested in the organization or just in getting any old job. Spend time on the company website reviewing the company culture, mission, priorities, awards, and leadership team. You will have a better understanding of the company's values by their website. Also, Google the organization, employee review's, and blog's. Hiring manager will want to know the applicant fit's into their culture and not just the position they are applying to. (Hint: The company awards will tell you what the company values and has been successful in doing)

2. Bring your resume and know what's on it! It's your career background, you shouldn't need a cheat sheet. You should bring a copy of your resume for every individual you are interviewing with and a few extra.  If the interviewer asks you to walk them through your career history, don't stare at your resume. Sometimes the dates all mix together, especially when you are nervous. But, you should practice going through your work history as this will always be a question by your future employer. If you spend less time reading from your resume, you will appear more confident and calm during the interview. (Hint: Resumes need to be on resume paper, it makes a different!)

3. Dress to impress but don't over do it! After you have researched the culture, you should have a better idea of the dress code and expectations. A corporate environment will be traditional with a full suit but an innovative start-up would prefer not to see another suit and tie. This is your first impression so dress professionally but understand that it means something different at every organization. If you do speak with a recruiter prior to an interview, don't be afraid to ask questions about interview attire.

4. Create a professional portfolio if you want to really stand out! Handing a professional portfolio to an HR or hiring manager will indicate that you take your career seriously and you are prepared! A professional portfolio can be comprised of your projects, awards/accolades', certifications, overview of accomplishments, recommendations, etc. It's good to make it unique to you and the career path you are on. I recommend hiring a professional to complete this for you, especially if you have limited experience in this area. (Hint: WillisPS has prepared professional portfolio's when clients have requested)

5. Practice, Practice, Practice! Gold medalist to local little league players practice for the big day, you should practice too! Google interview questions and practice with a trusted friend. WillisPS is always here to prepare any applicant for their next interview, whether it has been 2 days or 20 years since your last big day! Develop your list of behavioral examples and accomplishments to review alone and with a partner. If you are prepared you will be calm, cool, and confident on the day of your interview.

Jada Willis, Founder - Willis Professional Services



One Thing That May Make or Break the Interview

What is the one thing that you can do that will definitely impact whether or not you receive a job offer? You have to do enough research about the company and make sure you are able to articulate the essence of who they are and what they are trying to do.

·    What are the products and services offered?

·    Who are the competitors? Why are they the best?

·    Search for employee reviews of the company

·    Who are the company leaders?

·    Know the history of the organization

Now that you are armed with this information, determine how you can be of value to the company. Assess how you can make a positive contribution and what value you bring. Hiring managers will be able to tell if you have spent the time getting to know your potential employer. They will also assume that your level of understanding of the company shows your level of interest. Doing the right amount of research will assist you in answering the tough question, “Why are you the best candidate for this position?” You can now easily integrate your new found knowledge and the role you will play on continuing to build the organization’s success!