Fire an Employee the Right Way



Firing an employee is never easy. Since there are usually a lot of emotions involved, things are often done or said in a less-than-ideal way or they’re just done wrong.

There are several reasons you should be trying to fire people the ‘right way.’

First, make sure you aren’t making a mistake. You don’t want to let a valuable employee go for what turns out to be a misunderstanding.

Second, maintain a sense of fairness so the rest of your staff doesn’t see an unjust termination. When employees think someone was unfairly fired, it can have devastating effects on employee morale.

Third, you want to shield your company from legal action. If you can show the person was fired after a pattern of bad behavior or subpar performances, you’ll significantly lower your legal vulnerability.

With these reasons in mind, here are a few things to consider before letting someone go.

Make sure termination is the right move

Even if an employee has broken a zero-tolerance policy, pause for a moment to ensure the worker’s action genuinely falls inside the guidelines of that policy. When emotions are running high, it can cause you to forget about other mitigating guidelines and precedents for forgiveness.

While you may bring a worker back after making a mistake, it can be a morale killer for the staff and the employee in particular.

Be sure there’s a paper trail

The termination of any employee should be the final step in a formal and organized sequence. In writing, identify the subpar performance or bad behavior, further training or resources provided, established targets and timelines for improvement and follow-up actions.

This paperwork not only protects your company, it also helps guarantee the worker was handed every chance to be successful.  If there isn’t a paper trail, don’t go back and recreate one. Start with the present incident and follow the system moving forward.

Have a termination mechanism in place

Before any employee is fired, your management team should know how to reclaim company property, terminate benefits and deliver a final paycheck. The last thing you want is a terminated employee pacing the halls of your workplace while human resources works out the right way to handle the person’s health insurance coverage.

Identify a witness

In a union workplace, it’s usually mandatory for a union steward to be present when an employee is receiving disciplinary action. Their presence helps to protect both the company and the employee.

It’s a good idea for nonunion shops to follow this example for the same reason. With a witness present, way an employee can’t claim you said something that you didn’t.

Ending the conversation

People will usually try to argue after being told their services are no longer needed. It’s important you don’t argue with them, for fear of saying something inappropriate.

Avoid making any offers of assistance for future job prospects. It’s usually best to just end the conversation and wish that person the best of luck.

At Career Concepts, it is our responsibility to let a contract employees go for you, and going this route is a simple way to handle a complex situation. If your company is looking to bring on talented workers, please contact us regarding a custom talent acquisition solution.

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