One of the most difficult and stressful tasks a Boss has to do is firing someone. Whatever the reason may be, firing one of your employees someday are bound to happen. As if that task wasn’t bad enough, the burden of being the bearer of this bad news is worse. How much more if you instinctively know that you’ll be cutting their only source of income and they are left off to fend for themselves? Oftentimes you’ll feel miserable having the only one to do these, but you’ve got no choice but to do it.
The thing is, firing someone may be unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be unkind or inhumane. How do you make the entire process become more bearable to the both of you? Here are our top tips on how to fire someone in a good and positive way.
Before the Conversation
- Check Your Feedback
I am sure that before you reached this point, you had observed some inconsistencies and poor performance from the said employee before. It is important to list the general points that influenced your decision.
Now you might be tempted to list all the unpleasant things about the employee, but I suggest you don’t do that. Surely, you wouldn’t want to drag it out and have a lengthy conversation while bearing this unpleasant news, right?
So it’s better to just cut it out and get straight to the point. We recommend you list the key points that made him unfit for your team or goal. Some of the phrases you can use as a guide are:
“The company needs (specific skills or role) right now, and it doesn’t seem in line with your (skills)”
“We’ve made several attempts to help you speed on (skills, role, or responsibility), but we’re not seeing any progress we’d hope for”
“The company needs (X) but you possessed the (Y) skills.”
And believe us, your future former employee will thank you for keeping it short. He wouldn’t like it for you to spell out every mistake he made in the past. Doing so will only dwindle his confidence and dignity further. Be compassionate and kind enough to your employee.
- Write and Edit Your Script
Now that you have an idea what to say, it’s about time you write your script for the dreaded conversation. Like I said before, you want to keep it short but precise to the point. So it’s important to outline what the general flow of the conversation will be.
If you’re not up to write what you’re going to say verbatim, at least outline or highlight the important parts.
- Practice What You’re Going to Say.
Now that you have your script (or outline), take the time to actually rehearse them. And by rehearsing I mean by saying it out loud. I know that you probably have many things running inside your head. But actually saying is good for you to gather your thoughts and say only the things you need to relay. It will also help ease the anxiety and nerves you’re feeling.
- Consider What You Can Offer them to Help Alleviate the Situation
When you fire your employee, most likely, will have no source of income for the time-being. It’s important not to leave them hanging. After all, they did serve you greatly at some point of their employment. Offer a generous severance package. Tell them about the benefits they’re entitled to get. And if you can, provide them a letter of reference so that it’ll be easier for them to find their next job.
Facing the Dreadful Conversation
- Do it On Weekdays, Not on Weekends
It’s recommended to fire someone during weekdays, where work is still on-going rather than on weekends. Firing an employee on weekends will only give them time to “think” about what just happened and they might go back and argue with your decision. Worse is if they decide to file a lawsuit to you.
- Do it in the Morning
Prolonging the inevitable will only do you no good. You won’t be able to focus on anything else once it’s over with. So, it’s better to just confront it so that the both of you can move on afterward. Doing this will also give you the time to pass on the job and tasks to another employee. In this way, your company operations will not be delayed.
- Do it Face to Face
There’s no way of doing it. Don’t ever, ever think you can just send a text message or a memo telling your employee he’s fired. That’s just plain rude. It’s like breaking up with your significant other over the phone. Also, chances are, he will have some questions about your decision. Give him the liberty to know about it (but don’t go too much into the details). It’s their right to know how did you come up with such a difficult decision.
- Give them a Moment to Let the Situation Sink In
Don’t overload your employee with so much information at one time. Allow to give them a breather for the situation to sink in. Remember, if it’s nightmare for you to bear this discussion, it’s downright traumatic for your employee. Losing one’s job will never be easy. So try to sympathize with them once you deliver the news. Answer their questions, but don’t go into further details that will give room for any argument.
- Tell Your Employee What to do Next
Your employee will most likely be in shock and unable to know what to do next. So it’s best to guide them on what to do. Explain to them that they might need to return any company property (e.g. files, projects, blueprints, passwords, etc) they might have in possession. It’s also important to escort the employee as he leaves the company’s premises. Don’t give them a chance to linger as they may think of changing your company’s sensitive data without your knowledge.
- Give them a Chance to Say Goodbye
Give your employees a chance to part their goodbyes to his co-workers and supervisors. If they decide to frame things ambiguously (e.g. saying they quit) let them.
After Your Employee Left
- Share the News With Your Team
After your employee left, schedule a meeting or gathering to explain the situation. But like we said before, don’t go into full details. Just tell them that you’re sad to see them go, but it has to be done. Tell them that his skills are not in line with the company’s goals anymore and that his performance didn’t meet the company’s standards. Also, take this opportunity to thank and express your gratitude to your employees for their services and commitment. This will help them reassure their job status in your company.
Ennico, C. (n.d.). The Right Way to Fire Someone. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/166644
How to Fire Someone with Compassion and Respect – Lauren Bacon’s Curiosity Labs. (2013). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.laurenbacon.com/how-to-fire-someone-with-compassion-and-respect/
@. (2016). The Right Way to Fire Someone. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2016/02/the-right-way-to-fire-someone