One of the greatest perks of being an employer is the sense of gratitude you receive when hiring a new employee. However, the duty of hiring new people also comes with the responsibility of employee termination should the need arises. No one likes to be the bad guy, but for various reasons, the need to let someone go will come up. By taking a few simple actions, you can alleviate some of the burden off yourself and make the person you are firing feel a little better about the situation.
First, Make Sure You Are Being Fair
When an employee is let go, he or she may make threats about taking legal action if it is believed this was an unlawful termination. While sometimes a person is just letting off steam, sometimes they follow up. You need to ensure that you are treating everyone the same, and that you have a track record of firing people for similar offenses. You cannot treat anyone differently due to: – Sex, age, religion, race or disabilities – Taking time off for military service, jury duty or familial obligations – Being a whistleblower In the event that an employee makes a claim, you should have proof that you have fired employees for similar reasons in the past, and this will help tremendously in defending your case.
Second, Get to the Point
When it comes to employee termination, it is always preferable to get straight to the point. Now is not the time for small talk. You do not want to call an employee into your office, start talking about the big game on Sunday and then out of nowhere bring up the fact that he or she is being let go. As soon as the employee sits down, you should start off by saying something along the lines of ïI have some bad news.ï This lets the person know right away what is about to happen, so he or she is not misguided in any fashion. In addition to getting right to the point, you need to give a concrete explanation regarding why the employee is being fired. While you may be inclined to sugarcoat the reason in order to not hurt anyone’s feelings, this can be detrimental in the long run. If a good enough reason is not given, then the employee may jump to the conclusion that something else is really to blame. Be honest and say directly why this employee termination is occurring.
Third, Talk About What Will Happen Next
Part of the reason why getting fired is so scary is because the employee may not know what the future holds. You can alleviate some of this uncertainty by informing the person what is going to happen next regarding benefits, pay, references and anything else. An employee may understandably have a lot of questions that you should be prepared to answer. Some of the questions may include: – Would you still be willing to provide a reference? – What happens to my company savings plan or pension? – Will I be receiving severance pay? – Will today be my last day? – When do I need to return the company keys, cell phone or car? Prepare answers to any and all questions that could be asked so that you are not stammering for a response when the time comes.
Fourth, Keep it Brief
While an employee will likely have a few questions to ask, you should be ready to handle a person who wants to discuss an employee termination in depth. Ideally, the firing process should only be around 10 to 15 minutes. Any longer and you are simply delaying the inevitable. An employee may ask if there is anything he or she can do in order to prevent this from happening. You should have documentation or other pieces of evidence to show that the employee has been warned of poor performance in the past and that there is nothing else to be done.
Fifth, End the Conversation Gracefully
This may be impossible if the employee gets overly emotional, but you should try to end the meeting positively. Say something along the lines of, ïThank you for all you have done for the company.ï Even though you are firing this person, chances are good that he or she at least did something good for the business at some point. While employee termination is difficult on you, remember that it is even harder on the employee. By being tactful during the actual meeting, you can make it easier on your former worker. Remember, letting someone go is for the ultimate benefit of the company. Do not risk retaining a bad employee and allowing his or her toxicity to spread. For more resources on how to develop your business, take a look at what Mighty Recruiter has to offer.