Most bosses will agree that firing an employee is one of the most difficult parts of the job.
Regardless of why the employee is being terminated, there is always anxiety associated with taking this action and the impact it will have on the rest of the staff.
Firing an employee can be so gut-wrenching that some employers wait too long before they take action or give any sort of warning at all. It’s because of this lack of warning and action that many employees feel that they’ll never get fired until, of course, they are.
Recognizing when “enough is enough” and taking steps to correct the situation is mandatory.
Here are four recommendations for when you come to realize enough is enough:
Don’t Wait Too Long
It’s fair to say that the situation won’t improve by itself and action is required. If you have taken the appropriate steps to help the employee succeed and there remains issues of performance or attitude, the termination should not come as a surprise. You want to be fair and honorable regardless of the challenges that may have been caused by the employee, however you also want to act decisively once the correct steps have been taken. Check with your Human Resources Department or a Labor and Employment Attorney for the proper procedure.
Don’t Fire an Employee Unless You Are Meeting Face-to-Face
How you fire an employee is incredibly important. Do not fire an employee using any electronic method—no emails, IMs, voicemails, or phone calls. Even a letter is inappropriate when you fire an employee.
When you fire an employee, give them the courtesy that you would extend to any human being. They deserve a face-to-face meeting when you fire an employee. Nothing else works! For morale’s sake, it’s important to remember that not only your dismissed employee, but your other employees have long memories.
Maintain Your Composure
Getting fired is an emotional experience, and even if the employee is aware that they have done things to prompt their termination, they may get very angry or bitter and say things that are directed at you personally. Make certain to not react in kind and simply listen without responding. Stick to the facts, present the situation and appropriate documentation if required, and lay out the employee’s next steps as regards to their last date, benefits, or severance package (if applicable).
Communicate With Your Employees
Don’t let the company rumor mill get ahead of the situation. You want to ensure that the staff understands the facts and aren’t letting misinformation fuel their disappointment or insecurity about their own positions. As soon as the termination is complete, inform your employees, assuage their insecurities, and help them to stay on track with their work.
Perhaps the most important takeaway here is to act quickly and decisively once the facts are known. As difficult as it may be, try to keep your emotions out of it and accept that terminating the employee will ultimately wind up being the best thing for all parties. It may not seem so at first, but by not terminating someone who is wrong for the position you are being unfair to everyone.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.