4 Steps To Part With An Employee Gracefully

Man packing his work belongingsThe worst part of a manager’s duties is to letting go of an employee. Whether you are firing them for poor job performance, or dismissing them due to budget cuts, the task is never pleasant.

However, there are ways to part with an employee gracefully that will benefit both you and the employee being let go.

Privacy – In the heat of the moment, it is easy for managers to fire someone on the spot, however that is not smart. When preparing to lay off an employee, choose a private space, such as a conference room or your office, and close the door.

Call the employee in, or ask an assistant to get them for you. If possible, do so at the end of the working day so the individual has time to gather their belongings after the others have left, and that person doesn’t have to come back to the work space during the working day to pack up in front of everyone.

Delivering bad news to the employees in private allows them the dignity to manager their feelings in private. 

Avoid Blame – When you have to fire an employee due to poor job performance or bad work ethic, try to avoid assigning blame.

This will surely make the individual very upset, defensive, and possibly violent. Instead, use a general explanation, saying that the individual’s and the company’s goals simply do not align, or that the department or firm is moving in another direction.

Keep it Short – When letting someone go, it is wise to keep the conversation short. State the reason you have called the employee right away, saying, “I have called you because you are being terminated from your position.”

Whether the individual has received warnings but has not improved, or the position is simply being eliminated, keep the explanations to three sentences maximum.

While you can mention that you regret letting go of the employee, don’t dwell too much on excuses or your feelings. Keep it brief and professional.

Be Prepared – Although most professionals react calmly to news of their termination, some may not be able to control their feelings.

Make sure you notify human resources and your security department that you are able to fire an employee. If the individual gets overly emotional, or violent, call security and ask them to escort the employee out of the building so no one gets hurt.

Although it is difficult and often upsetting to terminate an employee, as managers that task is often unavoidable. However, following these tips will help you lay off the person gracefully – just don’t expect an invitation to the goodbye party.

Many Thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Originally published: 26 September, 2014

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