Firing an employee is one of the hardest decisions managers and employers have to make in the work place. It is important to keep in mind that the process is as difficult and painful for the employer as well as the employee, so the manager or employer must use tact. When letting an employee go, it is vital to be sensitive and to show some sympathy. There are also a few other tips that can help lessen the burden.
Be Clear, Respectful, and Constructive
When firing someone, be clear about what is going on. Do not leave any room for ambiguity or miscommunication. However, although you should be direct, also be respectful of the employee’s feelings. You may be telling them things about their performance that they may never have heard. Therefore, they may be particularly sensitive to what you are telling them if they are hearing this criticism for the first time. It is advisable to tell the employee what they did wrong because it might help them improve in life, as well at another job or work environment. However, the criticism should be constructive. It also would not hurt to mention the positive aspects of the employee’s performance. It could be very hurtful if the employee is only told what they do wrong and not what they also do right. While being sympathetic and helping the employee maintain his or her dignity, do not forget why you are both there. Make sure that you get to the bottom line and be honest with the employee about why he or she is being fired. You might be tempted to sugarcoat the truth for fear or hurting the employee’s feelings, but you are doing a disservice to the employee by being dishonest.
When going into the meeting to fire an employee, be prepared. Have a prepared list of talking points if necessary. The talking points should include everything you want to tell the employee. Make sure the list includes the positive and negative aspects of the employee’s performance, as well as the reason for the firing. A recommended nice gesture that is certainly not required is for the manager or employer to have some suggestions for the employee moving forward in regards to changes to performance. It could be very beneficial to the employee to hear directly from an employer what he or she can improve upon in order to better himself or herself.
Have the Meeting in Private
Being fired is a very private issue that most employees would not want to talk about. Therefore, the burden is on the manager or employer to ensure that the discussion is held in private. The best way to go about it is to bring the employee into an office and to close the door. By having the meeting in a neutral space such as a conference room or a similar room, both parties will leave when the conversation is over, and it won’t be as awkward as it might be if the employer then had to hint to the fired employee that it is now time to leave his or her office. Also, after the firing, the manager or employer should continue to respect the employee’s privacy by not discussing the firing or the reasons behind the firing with others.
Have a Witness
An unusual piece of advice that I would give to managers and employers when it comes to firing an employee is that they should have a witness. A fired employee’s reaction is unpredictable, and in the case of any threats or misconduct on the part of either the employer or the employee, it can benefit either party to have a witness in the room. It is not uncommon for legal action or litigation of any kind to follow an employee firing. Thus, the existence of a third party witness could be very helpful should there be a lawsuit.
Firing an employee can be one of the most difficult things a manager or employer may have to do, so it is important that they are prepared and know how to handle the situation should it ever arise. As a manager or employer, be sure to remember a few final pieces of advice. Be brief: don’t talk too much or ramble because odds are the situation is as uncomfortable for the employee as it is for the employer. Let the employee leave immediately. Employees whom have just been fired are understandably very angry, so the best thing to do is to encourage them to leave for the day and to schedule a time at a later date to pick up their things. Lastly, never fire someone on a Friday because you do not want to give them the entire weekend to think about it. It is best to fire someone on a Monday so that they are more likely to begin the process of looking for a new job. There is no easy way to fire someone, but there are certainly a few useful tips to follow in order to make it slightly less difficult.