You’re Fired! The Right (and Wrong) Way to Let an Employee Go

FiredFor managers, firing employees is the least enjoyable part of their job. Handled the wrong way, termination can go from merely unpleasant to a disaster – or even a lawsuit.

Since every company must terminate an employee at some point in time, it’s wise to be prepared with a good process.

Here are several tips for both creating a termination policy and filling the gap left on the team when firing becomes a necessity:

  1. Focus on work issues, not personal traits. Even if the reason is the worker’s personality, focus on the ways in which the lack of “fit” harmed the work of the team as a whole. In all cases, if the employee asks why they are being fired, point to specific examples of work or behavior that do not measure up.  Reviewing the employee’s prior performance evaluations can help you make this case.
  2. Train staff on legal and illegal reasons for firing. A focus on performance can help you avoid many of the missteps that might lead to an allegation of improper firing. So all managers understand the importance of this task, make sure they are clear on the illegal reasons to fire someone and they know how to discuss the reasons that led to the termination.
  3. Make sure the news comes from the manager. Managers should address the situation in person with the employee. When it’s time to break the bad news, be clear and firm.  Start by saying, “we’re going to have to let you go”; then give the employee several seconds to absorb this news.  Continue by briefly explaining the reasons for the termination, providing any paperwork needed, and connecting them with staff from the HR department if necessary.
  4. Talk to HR first. Bring the human resources team into the discussion before you tell the employee they are fired. HR can help you ensure that termination policies are followed and the employee’s questions are answered.  Make sure everyone is on the same page – even if not everyone is happy about the decision.
  5. Call your recruiter. Your staffing firm can help you find someone to fill the open position. When you call, be ready to discuss why the previous employee was terminated, in general terms.  Knowing what you do and don’t want in your next staff member will help your staffing partner find better candidates.

Letting an employee go is never easy, but if you follow these tactics it can lesson the pain.

If you need to replace a recently let go employee, we can help. At TERRA Staffing, our recruiters can help you find the talent you need in less time.

Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Phoenix, Portland and Seattle.

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