Nobody likes to fire an employee—but sometimes, it’s what has to happen. When one of your team members is underperforming or exhibiting toxic behaviors that impact the rest of your team, disciplinary action may be required. And, if that doesn’t resolve the problem, you may be left with no real choice but to terminate.
Even when you know it’s the right move, you still might not like it—but there are steps you can take to make the process as smooth as possible.
Our Tips for Firing Employees
Here are a few of our recommendations—things to keep in mind for the next time you have to have that tough conversation with an employee.
- First and foremost, make sure you have clear documentation. This is, frankly, to protect yourself against any potential lawsuit. Keep a written record of all the facts—what happened? What previous disciplinary actions were taken? Why did you decide to terminate? Which company policies were broken by this employee?
- Always meet with employees in person to fire them. As a business owner, there’s a certain level of courage that’s expected of you; firing someone by phone or by text just doesn’t cut it. If at all possible, meet somewhere other than in your office. That way, when it’s all over, you can leave and allow the employee a few minutes to sit and collect themselves.
- Have a third person in the room—an office manager, perhaps. This helps keep you on track; it ensures that you’re firm, but also fair; and, it gives you a witness—another valuable protection against legal threats.
- Give honest feedback and provide the employee with some sense of why they are being fired—even if you’re pretty sure they already know. With that said, try to be brief. It shouldn’t become a full-fledged conversation.
- Allow the employee a minute or two to speak up; an angry employee may want to vent a little, and while you don’t have to spend hours enduring a tirade, it’s not unreasonable to accept a little feedback.
- Finally, always be respectful. Even when an employee disappoints you, he or she is still a human being, and deserves some basic level of kindness and dignity.
Be Wise in Hiring and Firing
Of course, a good hiring process can help you avoid terminations altogether—but that’s a topic for another day.
If you’re struggling with sound HR practices at your company, give us a call. We provide a number of administrative services that can lighten your load. Reach out to Contractor in Charge to ask us more!