There are many reasons why someone may not be well suited for a job. It could be that they lack the necessary skills, are lazy, just don’t get it, or they may just not be a match for the company. No one likes having to fire an employee, but sometimes it’s necessary for the betterment of the organization. So you may as well try to do it in the most appropriate way possible.
In my three years as a manager for a large government agency, I found that these steps were the best way to make a bad situation a little more bearable. I was taught by my superior (who has been in management for over 20 years) that firing an employee is never easy, but by following these guidelines, it can go a lot smoother for all parties involved.
Document – As a manager or owner of a company, it is your responsibility to document everything. You cannot just say you’re fired because “I don’t like you” or “You’re a horrible employee.” If they’re late all of the time or call in a lot, document; if they cause constant conflict in the workplace, document; if they don’t improve after ample training and opportunities have been given to them, document. Documentation will protect your business and will ensure that you have given the employee sufficient opportunity to make improvements where they are lacking.
Be Certain, Be Clear, Be Firm – Never fire someone out of anger or frustration; this could result in negative outcomes for you and your organization. Make sure that when you decide to fire someone, that it is well thought out and that you have a legitimate reason and adequate documentation to back you up. Also, be firm in your decision, never allow someone to think they have a chance at talking you out of your decision.
Don’t Fight – Most people when being fired will want to get it over with and leave as soon as possible. However, there are those few who will want to argue their case and tell you how wrong you are in firing them. Do not argue back and do not give into anger; this will result in more problems and can get you into trouble if you happen to say the wrong thing.
Be Prepared – Never fire an employee without speaking with HR to make sure that you have everything in order. Make certain that you have their last paycheck ready to hand to them, confirm that you have all company property returned immediately, and get details as to what will happen with their employee benefits.
Don’t Linger, Wrap It Up – The worst thing you can do when firing someone is to make promises that you can’t keep. It’s understandable that you feel bad and want to lighten up the situation, but don’t promise anything to someone unless you actually plan to and have the ability to keep that promise. Wrap it up by being straight forward and respectful by stating something along the lines of, “I wish you the best in your future endeavors,” and shake their hand and leave it at that.