Firing employees is an inevitable part of running a business. Sometimes, employees do not turn out to be the people you tought they were, which can directly or indirectly affect your business’ overall productivity. As much as we would all love to have a peaceful, drama-free environment in the workplace, the reality is that we will need to take decisions that will not always make everybody happy.

Here are some tips that will make the process of firing an employee easier and smoother

Be honest

Firing an employee is not a fun task neither for the employee nor the employer. Do not make it any harder by takling too much. Starting the conversation with jokes will give the wrong impression. Go straight to the point and give honest reasons about why you are deciding to let this employee go. It is important to have that talk, no matter how hard it might be in order to clear out the air. Make sure you show empathy while still focusing on the main objective of the meeting.

Make sure you have a direct supervisor present

When firing an employee, having a supervisor present can be very useful. Not only because he will be able to give specific proof for the reason you are deciding to let the employee go but also because he will be a witness in case things get out of control. An employee who learns that he will have to leave the company soon does not always react calmly. It is always safer to have someone else in the room with you.

Choose a comfortable environment

Make sure you set up the meeting in a private room so that everyone feels at ease. Make sure you put a DO NOT DISTURB sign in order to avoid people disrturbing the meeting. The last thing you want is your soon to be former employee to be embarassed because everybody heard about the news. Be as professional and discrete as possible.

Give them enough time to process

Getting fired is not an easy news to swallow. Give your employee some time to process by giving him a certain time margin before he has to leave (unless you are dealing with a case of immediate contract termination). This will give him time to adjust to the news and start searching for a job while he is finalizing everything with your company. This is also a proof of undersatnding and empathy that will be greatly appreciated by the employee.

Talk about the next steps

Have everything ready for the next steps. Get their final paycheck ready and talk to HR about everything else that needs to be done. Make sure you collect anything (badge, laptop, keys…) that belongs to the company. Make sure you give your soon to be former employee specific dates and deadlines to wrap up everything. Leave no space for blurred lines or confusion. If you want this to go as smoothly as possible, make sure everything is clear and settled.

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Ann-Sophie Ovile, Writer, Short Stints


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