Firing an employee is one of the hardest jobs for most managers
and small business owners and may be as hard in some ways as it is
on the employee being fired. Firing an employee not only
means a potentially confrontational experience, it opens up
potential legal trouble (if not done properly), and it can be
emotionally hard to take away the income of one of your workers.
There are no
"good" ways to fire an employee, but there are better
and worse ones. Firing must be done from time to time when
employees do not measure up. Christoph Puetz guides you
through the proper way to fire someone, accomplishing what needs
to be done for your business, and working hard to let the employee
keep their dignity.
How to Fire an
by: Christoph Puetz
One of the most difficult tasks
you will face as a business owner will be firing employees.
Employees who consistently break the rules, do not perform the
functions of their job, or cause difficulties for your business
can be a strain on the work environment, your cash flow, and even
disrupt your business from thriving and performing as expected.
This tutorial will give you steps and hints about firing employees
Document, Document, Document
The first step in preparing when
letting go an employee is to make sure you have all the
documentation you need. When you give verbal warnings, be sure to
document them properly. Make a case for this specific situation by
documenting everything you did before making the decision of
releasing the employee. Anything that shows that you tried to
solve things to the better.
Your business should have a well
documented procedure for what it expects from employees and
anything that is considered grounds for immediate dismissal. Be
sure to use these as guidelines and consult with a lawyer
experienced in HR questions if necessary.
Have a friend, family member, or
business partner be there to assist in any paperwork and any
issues that arrive from the employee. Not only does this
representative help with anything you might forget, they also
serve as a witness if any lawsuit arises. This will be difficult
for either one of you but in the end it will be well worth the
"I've been fired, but
Explain to the employee the
performance you have expected, the steps you have taken to help
them meet that performance, and that he/she has not met them. Do
not say more than you have to, just state why they are being
dismissed and fill out any exit paperwork.
If you are upset, cool down
before talking to them. If you have to fire somebody over the
phone because he or she is in a different location advice the
employee that you have somebody with you listening to the
conversation. Make it very clear that you are in control and
Establish Exit Procedures
Make sure you backup any
important files before firing the employee and take steps to lock
them out of any computer system. Change all passwords but make
sure the employee does not realize that before the actual moment
of truth. It is also recommended that you fire someone on a Monday
and not on a Friday.
Employees fired on Fridays have
the whole weekend to stew, while those fired on Mondays usually
are more upbeat because they have the week ahead of them. Be sure
to explain when the last paycheck is coming, when benefits
terminate, and any information regarding extending their health
coverage or any other details (if this applies to your situation).
to keep the meeting short and to the point. Explain to the other
team members that you fired the individual without going into too
many details. They do not need to know all the details but you
need to make sure that they understand that this was not a
personal dispute between you and the employee fired. You want
employees to be honest to when disagreeing on something and not
scared to get fired.
a new potential employer calls you for a reference, remember to
just state the title and dates of employment. Specify that you are
not able to provide any further information. Advice your remaining
employees that your business policies specify that all calls for
references have to go through HR (you?) or yourself. Document
again how the complete process of firing went, what the employee
had to say and what happened.
Management >> How To Fire Employees