When you need to let go of an employee in your company, it is never an easy task to do. Truth is, it doesn’t matter how many times you have done it, it will still be difficult to say to your co-worker or subordinate, “I’m sorry, but we have to let you go.”
And if it is not difficult enough, imagine what the other employees will think when one of their colleagues is let go: Will it be my turn to go next? What is happening? If this situation is not handled thoroughly and professionally, it may affect the performance of the employees.
Here are some dos and don’ts when letting go of an employee:
1. DO let them know of the situation.
If you know that your worker’s job performance is declining, set a meeting with them to get the story right. It is not fair for your employees to just be told that, “You’re fired” when all they have been hearing for the last six months is positive feedback from you.
2. DO adhere to company policy.
If the company guideline states that there is a two-week notice policy, don’t fire the person today and expect them to leave tomorrow. Make sure you have talked to the HR Department to discuss their benefits and contracts beforehand.
3. DO be certain.
If you have made your decision to let the person go, don’t offer them the hope of staying, especially out of courtesy or empathy. This would just further confuse your employee while they can make up their mind to move on in the first place.
4. DON’T argue.
Employees who are getting fired can show a diverse range of emotion – from being unusually quiet, sad to explosive. If you have followed the process, the employee should have been left with bits of bread crumbs to follow to get the hint that they will soon be let go. However, if they insist on discussing their work performance, listen, but don’t argue. Sometimes saying less is more.
5. DON’T do it in front of other employees.
Meet with them face-to-face, with a witness from the HR department if you have to. But other than that, don’t just yell at them and say, “You’re fired!” in front of everyone. What is worse than firing an employee is putting them to shame in the process.
6. DON’T just break the news.
Giving your employees the explanation of why they are being fired in the first place is crucial. While you don’t need to go into details such as giving examples or drawing from real life occurrences, you can tell them the gist of why they are being let go. Offer them to talk at length if they are comfortable to. Sometimes your employees want to know what they have done wrong and how they can prevent it from happening again in their next job.
Want to get better at your career? Visit the Institute of Management website to find out more about our courses.