As an auditor, I was often tasked with organizational audits where you had to review company policies and determine how they aligned with standard business practices. One common problem area was deficiencies in the Employee Exit Process. Let’s face it, there is no one who I know personally who enjoys firing an employee. No matter how we try to avoid it, there are times where you and a troublesome employee must part ways. Here are a few tips to fire an employee with the least amount of pain involved.
Design an Exit Procedure
Every company, no matter the size should have an “Employee Exit Procedure” on-hand. This should include the signature of important forms like, severance package forms and/or confidentiality forms. Also consider including an exit checklist of items that should be collected from the employee upon their departure. This will help ensure that company inventory remains in-tact and well accounted for. A few items that should be on your list are:
- I.D. Badge
- Laptop computers, cameras
- USB Drives
- Office/Desk keys
- Accessibility to all employee files
In Their Shoes
First, you must put yourself in the shoes of the employee that you must fire. Although, they will no longer work for you, they are a person who deserves respect and tact. Treat the employee as if you will see them in the future or they will be your boss one day. Don’t fire an employee in front of people. Being fired is a situation that no one wants to be placed in, it is best to make sure that others are not present to witness this emotional moment. Also, it is good to give this type of news to someone in a less intimating, neutral place with a door.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
No matter how the employee ended up at this juncture you must remember to inform them of the reasons behind their termination. Be honest! Remember that a firing should never be a surprise. The employee should know that this was the last resort after a series of reprimands or after a standard discipline process. This is why it is best to have the Employee Exit Procedure which should include standard disciplinary procedures.
Don’t beat around the bush, but be professional and polite. This will help them improve on themselves for their next possible job. At the minimum, it is best to conduct an exit meeting with the soon to be former employee. Make sure that another person is present, preferably someone from Human Resources.