Firing someone is never easy, but sometimes it has to be done. How you handle firing an employee can have a big impact on the workplace. It is a fragile situation that, if not handled properly, can lead to negative team morale, bad company reputation, and even lawsuits.
Do It in Person
When you need to fire someone, particularly someone who has been with the company for a long period of time, show some respect for that individual and do it in person. It shows you appreciate everything he or she did for the company and value his or her contributions.
Keep It Discreet
There is no need to broadcast your decision to fire someone. Being fired is embarrassing enough for the person, and letting everyone know about it is just adding insult to injury. Only tell people who need to know, such as the persons direct supervisor, about your firing decision.
Don’t Do It Alone
The person being fired can be confused, upset, and angry. Have someone, such as a representative from HR, present with you when you meet with the person being fired. It is not only more comfortable for you to have someone as your ally, but it also prevents any legal issues when there is a witness.
Keep It Short and Direct
Regardless of how friendly you are with the person being fired, a firing meeting isnt time for chitchat. It is an emotional event for the person being fired, so keep it brief. You dont have to feel guilty about your decision, and dont get into a lengthy discussion if the employee tries to get the job back. If you think a short explanation about the firing decision is in order, make it short.
Have All the Paperwork Ready
Prepare all the paperwork ahead of the firing meeting. This includes a final paycheque, severance package, and any other documentation. If you need the person to sign a waiver for the severance, dont pressure him or her to sign it or fill out forms at the meeting. It is a stressful time for the person being fired, and there is no need to make it worse by asking him or her to fill out a bunch of forms.
If you think it is difficult to fire someone, imagine how the person on the receiving end of the news feels. Even when youre firing someone because of severe mistakes, be supportive and offer help. For example, offer to be a reference when the person looks for a new job. If youre firing someone because of downsizing, you may even offer to recommend him or her to other companies.
Talk to the Team
When someone gets fired, it has an impact on other people in the workplace. For example, other workers need to take over the work left behind. Rumours are inevitable, and it is important for you to address any questions and issues from the team. However, make sure you dont reveal any confidential information, such as why the person was fired.