The Best Way to Fire an Employee without Destroying their Name/Feelings.
The Best Way to Fire an Employee: If you’ve ever had to fire someone, you know how difficult it is. However, without weeding out unproductive employees or making necessary cuts, we can’t grow our business. Knowing how to fire an employee gracefully is the key to keeping the ship sailing smoothly.
8 Best Way to Fire an Employee
Give Prior Notice
Before you fire an employee, give them a warning that they are not performing well. If you are firing an employee because of a serious policy violation, that’s a different story. But if their performance is poor, do a performance review before firing them.
Always give the employee every possible chance to improve first, and reserve firing as your option of last resort. Before firing, make sure that you have documented the employee’s performance “in writing” as part of your official performance review process.
If the employee still doesn’t improve after you give them fair warning or if they break a policy, don’t wait to fire the employee. You don’t want them to single-handedly sink your business because they are wasting your time, resources, and money.
Be Clear When You Fire
If you must fire an employee, do so gracefully. When you meet with an employee to tell them they are being fired, you need to tell them as soon as the meeting starts. If you were getting fired, you wouldn’t want to talk about the weather or last night’s football game before hearing the news. Answer any questions relating to the employee’s last paycheck, collecting unemployment benefits, and health insurance.
Take care not to discriminate
Be sure that you’re not discriminating against someone with a protected characteristic, such as age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc. If someone’s performance is suffering because of a disability, you’ll need to first make reasonable adjustments to help improve their performance. Remember, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety can amount to a disability.
Make Sure Your Actions Are Legal
Did you have your employee sign a contract when you hired them? If not, they are employed at-will, meaning you can terminate their employment at any time. Don’t fire an employee as an act of discrimination. And, you can’t fire an employee for taking medical leave. You might want to consult a lawyer before you fire an employee.
If your employee has a contract with your business, you cannot fire them for reasons not listed in the contract. The contract should state reasons you can end a worker’s employment at your business. If they don’t violate the listed reasons, don’t break the contract.
Don’t Start the Conversation Without a Witness
Especially in the US, anyone can sue anybody, at any time, for any reason. The best practice is to include a second employee in the meeting when you fire an employee. This gives you an individual who hears and participates in the employment termination in addition to the manager. This witness is often the Human Resources staff person.
The HR person has more experience than the average manager, in firing employees, so can also help keep the discussion on track and moving to completion. The HR person can also ensure that employees are treated fairly, equally, and with professionalism across departments and individual managers. This limits your liability when you fire an employee.
Tell Your Employees
In some situations, it’s necessary to tell employees that you let one of their co-workers go. For example, you might want to point out that there will be changes in workload or new opportunities available. But, don’t go into detail and become the center of a gossip-fest. Remain professional throughout the process of firing an employee: before, during, and after.
Don’t Let Them Think the Decision Is Not Final
Hopefully, you thought long and hard before scheduling the termination meeting. You have your reasons if you choose to provide them, reasonably articulated, and a coworker on hand to support you. Approach the employee with kindness, concern, and respect, but your words should be straightforward.
After an initial greeting, in fact, tell the employee that the purpose of the meeting is to inform her of your decision to terminate her employment, which is final. This is kinder than misleading the employee into believing she can affect the outcome.
Don’t Allow the Employee to Access Information Systems
Terminate the employee’s access to your electronic systems such as email, the company wiki, intranet, customer contact forms, and so forth, during the employment termination meeting, or slightly before. Work with IT staff to see what company information may have been taken during the weeks preceding a quit or termination.
You should make the most of an employee’s probation period to determine whether they are the right fit for the role and business. Set clear expectations from the outset and monitor performance against these. Communicate regularly to help you to identify any issues sooner rather than later.
If you do notice issues in their performance or behavior, you should raise this with them informally, giving them an opportunity to improve.
If you still don’t feel they’ll meet the required standards, you might decide to terminate their contract. When you do so, you will still need to give them the notice period that is written into their contract for their probationary period.
If you think the employee might still be able to improve, you could extend their probation period. If you do so, you should be clear on how long the probation is extended by and set clear expectations around how you expect their conduct or performance to improve.
Firing an employee is not your most sought-after experience. But, you can make the experience more palatable by using an effective, supportive approach to a hard conversation. The actions you take really do matter to the employee who is being fired and to the coworkers who will learn—quickly—that the employee is gone.