The process involving managers and employee termination is always a difficult one, as no one leaves the situation happy. However, there are some measures you can take in order to make the inevitable discussion as quick and professional as possible both for you and the employee being let go.
Approaching the Conversation
Before you engage the employee, you should first approach a person from your human resources department about accompanying you. It is preferable that this person be of the opposite gender from you as studies have shown that this comes across as a more level-headed approach in the eyes of the employee being dropped. Bringing someone along also helps in that doing so provides backup in the event that the employee should choose to become hostile or make false accusations about the nature of the firing.
The Right Time and Place
Additionally, the location in which you choose to have the conversation is of great importance. Ideally, you should set up the meeting to take place either in an empty conference room close to an exit or in a private office. Make sure that you have some water and tissues in the room, as this will likely be a difficult moment for the employee in question. Out of respect for him or her, it is a good idea for the process involving managers and employee termination to take place as early in the day and in the workweek as possible. Pay the person for any work he or she has done so far, and then allow him or her to leave immediately following your meeting. This is also important for preserving a fair image with the rest of your employees. If you let the person being terminated work when the decision has already been made, you can quickly lose a positive reputation. A part of the process that is often forgotten about when discussing managers and employee termination is the logistics following the firing. If the employee normally uses a company car, make sure that transportation is arranged prior to having the conversation. Have any necessary paperwork and documents prepared for him or her to take so there is no awkward fumbling when you state the decision.
Delivering the News
Once you have made all of the necessary preparations and the time finally comes to fire the employee, the manner in which you inform him or her about the company’s decision is crucial. One unfortunately common thing about managers and employee termination is that many managers tend to construct an elaborate lead-up in order to let the person down easy. Though this doesn’t come from a bad place, as it shows a respect for the person’s feelings, it is better to get right to the point and not waste anyone’s time. Keep the discussion as brief as possible, maintaining an assertive and calm tone when delivering the news. The reality is that in many of these situations, the employee in question is aware of their lackluster performance in the workplace, so presenting the information in a matter-of-fact manner is a good way to prevent the employee from blaming you for the termination. Furthermore, the more you say, the greater the likelihood of legal trouble later on. Prepare a written statement to place in the employee’s personnel profile that quickly explains the situation.
Dealing With the Fallout
Employees who are fired will sometimes have a host of questions to ask immediately after you inform them in a meeting. Some of the questions you are most likely to hear include: – Will unemployment be available? – Can you tell me about an instance in which I did something wrong? – Will I receive some kind of severance? – Are you planning to tell my coworkers that I’ve been fired? – Can you still provide me with a reference? These are all questions that, while certainly understandable, can place you and the company in a messy place. It is almost always the advisable course of action to direct these questions to someone in the HR department instead of attempting to answer them yourself.
The unfortunate reality for you is that managers and employee termination go hand-in-hand. You will inevitably face another similar situation in the future. However, if you are able to adopt some of these practices into your own termination process, that part of your job will at least become a bit more painless. Firing an employee is never a pleasant situation, and takes practice in order to do an efficient job of it. If you prepare appropriately and keep a cool head throughout the process, though, you, the company and your former employee will be able to move forward in positive directions.