Management Matters

Firing an employee? – Do it right!

Date Posted: 02/20/2014

There is no pleasant way to fire someone and it is often as hard on the person firing as it is on the person being fired. However, it is necessary for the healthy growth of any company. If you have an individual with poor performance which is affecting the company and you have called his/her attention, given feedback for improvement but nothing has happened, it leaves you with only one option – fire the person!

Here we identify ways to fire someone smoothly without the drama and without affecting the morale of the other employees.

1. Give a heads up.

Before making the final decision, tell the employee everything about their performance and why you’re unsatisfied about it. Give them a chance to work on it maybe for about a month before you fire them. Be sure to convey that if you’re still unhappy about their performance then you will have to let them go. Also, make sure you file this in writing for proof along with all other warnings and poor performance feedback. Check the employee’s contract to ensure it includes clauses on ownership of company data, etc.

2. Never fire on a Friday!

This is one rule not to break. Fire someone early in the week because if you fire someone on a Friday, they can stew about it over the weekend and come back on Monday ready for a fight. The best day to do it is on a Monday morning, so the person can start looking for a new job for the whole week.

3. Keep it straight to the point.

How your message is communicated can make a huge difference. Being fired is extremely painful, so having genuine empathy is important while you treat the person with respect and dignity. Don’t beat around the bush. Keep it short and simple. Try this: “John, I am sorry but we have to let you go”. Tell the employee your valid reasons for termination and when it will take effect. Make sure there is no room for further discussion.

No matter how many people you have fired before, you will feel uncomfortable so you will be tempted to talk. Don’t! The less you say the more dignity the employee retains.

4. Make sure to have a witness.

Having someone else present during the meeting will eliminate the risk of the employee later claiming you said things you did not say. The witness can also help in case the employee threatens to get violent.

5. Explain any benefits due.

Be prepared to give the employee information on their severance pay, schedule of last paycheck and what’s going to happen with their unused vacation time, etc. All this information should be given to the employee in writing, because they are usually too emotional to listen clearly to those particulars at that point.

6. Never fire in a public place.

Talk to the employee in your private office or a conference room. Make it a private place not at lunch with so many people around you. You don’t want to create a scene.

7. Control your temper.

You don’t have to shout or show you’re angry. Be calm and act professionally. In case the employee can’t hold onto their emotions make sure you maintain yours. Never argue. If everything is certain about your decision and properly documented then there is no room for any argument. You may let the employee vent but don’t get into any debates.

8. Be sure firing is truly deserved.

Don’t terminate an employee in the heat of the moment. It could lead to a lawsuit and it could have a severe negative impact on other employees. If a firing is in anger or undeserved, it sends a message of fear throughout the organization. Morale and confidence are shaken. However, if a firing is truly deserved – if an individual can’t do the job or has a bad attitude or has a destructive influence, the mass majority of hard working employees will recognize this and will respect the manager for the firing.

9. Ask them to leave immediately.

Do not let the employee loiter. If you are terminating someone, make sure it is as soon as possible. They have to leave the business premises immediately, after cleaning up their desk of any personal items. Have them escorted to the door, to avoid any stealing of company files, etc. Collect all office keys and other stuff from the employee. Or schedule a good time for them to get their personal things after office hours.

10. Reassign the employee’s tasks quickly.

As soon as the employee leaves, call for a meeting to properly inform others of your decision and reallocate his/her tasks to other employees. Proper debriefing helps eliminate rumors and other negative reactions that may arise from colleagues.

Firing an employee is one of the most difficult task for any manager. So if you have to do it just do it right.

Need to give your business a shot in the arm by hiring some new talent from the Philippines? You can trust Ikon Solutions’ services and be certain that every detail of the hiring process is maximized in finding the best candidate for you.

IKON is a full services recruitment agency that specializes in recruiting personnel from the Philippines and other part of Asia for the hospitality, medical, construction, oil & gas and other service industries. One of the leading newspaper in the Philippines, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, recently reported Ikon as being one of the top 20 overseas recruitment agencies in the Philippines. Following this, the leading overseas job website in the Philippines, Workabroad (www.workabroad.ph), has ranked Ikon as the 4th leading agency to which candidates apply. You, as the client, can be sure that qualified candidates actively looking for jobs overseas will be applying to Ikon. And since we are also constantly headhunting the best talents available, our clients are guaranteed a wide and diverse pool of candidates to choose from.

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