Firing an employee is hard for both the employee and the employer. According to former CEO of General Electric Jack Welch, no employer likes firing an employee. Yet, firing an employee is a necessary evil every employer may face. How can you make it easy for yourself - the employer - and your employee?
The key with terminating an employee's employment starts with communication. Communication done with clarity, sympathy and documentation makes it easier to be absorbed than just taking an action rashly. “Communication should be very civil no matter the circumstances” says Kathleen Brush, author of The Power of One: You're the boss. “If you’re very brusque and tell the employee, ‘You’re outta here!’ you run a much higher risk of lawsuit.”
One study by Duke and Ohio State University professors found that when employees were fired but felt they were treated fairly, just 1 percent filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, compared with 17 percent of those who felt they were treated poorly.
#1. Good Timing
According to Jamie Walker, CEO and co-founder of SweatGuru: “It’s best to fire early in the week and in the day, as opposed to late in the day at the end of the week. If you wait until later in the day, departures can be more awkward - especially if you’re in a small space. Give them time to gather their things and leave gracefully. Don’t wait until Friday if you can help it; give them the news early in the week so there’s no chance that they’ll be sitting and stewing on the news during the weekend.”
#2. Be Direct
Another tip from Jamie is for the employer to be direct. There's no need to avoid the issue, this is not the time to start reliving the times spent. It is best to be firm and direct. Although there is no wrong in expressing your sympathies, you need to explain what needs to be said. There’s nothing worse than giving long-winded explanations or causing a build-up before the big moment. This is a sprint, not some marathon.
#3. Business First
You should be formal, direct and professional about the action of firing an employee. It is business and there is nothing personal attached to it. You have to remember that you made the decision for a reason - whether it was a poor performance or just a bad fit - so stick to your guns and keep in mind that your decision takes into account the bigger picture, and the best interest of your business.
#4. Be Open and Honest
Find a solution that works for the company and employees. Aim to build long-lasting bridges, not burn them. Who knows if you may need the services of the employee again? There may also be relevance for him/her as a contract worker. It is better to be honest and allow a window of opportunity for the future.
#5. Gather up the Remains
When you are in charge of a small team, losing a team member is often felt by everyone, regardless of the circumstances. Do your best to alleviate fears and prevent office gossip by gathering the team immediately and giving them the facts. Don’t get into details; just lay out the facts in a non-emotional manner and invite anyone who has specific questions to discuss with you in private.
It is never an easy experience firing anybody but in the long run, it is what every employer faces. And the easier it is for you the better.
I hope these tips have been helpful.
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