July 6, 2015

5 things to remember when terminating an employee

Make sure both parties are comfortable during a termination meeting.

Make sure both parties are comfortable during a termination meeting.

There is no easy way to terminate an employee. Before firing a worker many considerations must be taken into account, including exactly why the termination is necessary, ensuring all legal steps have been covered, and the work environment remains as undisturbed as possible.
Realizing an employee may not be the best fit after the hiring process can be stressful, especially for a small business owner. Taking control of the situation as soon as possible is often the best choice of course. Although giving them a chance to improve or change is encouraged, if this does not improve the situation, termination may be necessary.
When firing an employee, make sure the meeting is held in a private place that ensures confidentially and comfort for both parties involved. Before the meeting takes place, take the time to prepare for what is about to take place. Review the employee’s personnel file, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have during the process. Ensure company protocols are followed as well, as these can vary place to place.
The following five explanations or actions during the meeting can help alleviate some of the tension, as well as end the process quickly and efficiently.

  • Answer their questions: Although some employees may not realize they are being terminated, they should have some idea their work level, productivity or overall performance has been lacking beforehand. After the termination an employee will often have questions regarding final paychecks, severance pay and packing up their desk. If you don’t know the answer, have someone else attend the meeting such as an HR representative.
  • Don’t stall: Get right to the point. Opening the conversation with a light-hearted joke or diversion will only prolong the process. Don’t rush the meeting, but be sure to keep the time in mind, for both parties.
  • Have a plan: Prepare what you are going to say before you head into the termination. Have a running list of points to hit and keep the conversation moving. Bring along any relevant paperwork the employee may need to read or sign. Take a few minutes before the meeting to gather your thoughts as well.
  • Reflect on your hiring process: There could be a host of reasons why this employee is being terminated. For better work practices in the future, take a look at your past hiring processes. Think of any red flags or signs you may have missed, or office experiences in general that can be improved for their replacement.
  • Remain calm: The meeting is going to be a little awkward, but remaining professional and understanding is best. The time you spend with the terminated employee now may affect how they react in the future with the company. Be sure everyone is comfortable and all precautions are taken.

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