By Alan Graner
There comes a time when you realize an employee is not a good match for your company. Before firing someone, however, there are other factors to consider such as state and federal laws, policy guidelines, internal processes, etc.
Before you fire someone
Before you fire someone you must be able to give concrete examples of how they didn’t live up to at least one of these five qualities:
- High performance. People must deliver results at a high level.
- Motivation. People must be passionate about their work and motivated to be a team player.
- Growth. Change is inevitable. Employees must be eager to improve their abilities, to keep their skills growing as the company grows.
- Honesty. This is an absence of political agendas, duplicity, unethical behavior.
- Kindness. To themselves, their colleagues, their customers. No racism, sexism or other discrimination is tolerated.
Source: Matthew Bellows, “6 Good Reasons to Fire an Employee,” in Business Insider
How to fire someone without sounding like Donald Trump
- Say it yourself. The person doing the firing should be the employee’s direct manager.
- Bring a witness. In the emotion of the moment the employee may not remember things correctly.
- Keep it quick. Many experts suggest a firing should last no longer than 15-20 minutes.
- Be specific. Tell them exactly why they are being let go.
- Don’t apologize. This may leave the employee wondering if the firing was fair.
Source: Melissa Korn, “The Best Ways to Fire Somebody Or, how not to make a bad situation even worse” in The Wall Street Journal
The process for letting someone go
Some of the recommended steps include:
- Make an appointment with the person you are letting go. Let them know the meeting is about them. Be solemn so they have an idea it’s bad news.
- If appropriate, have someone from HR involved. Afterwards the HR person can explain what happens next (final pay, etc.).
- Have the person sit and look them in the eyes. Being human at this time makes a big difference to them.
- Start your talk with the end. Tell them they’re being let go right away. Then shut up for 30 seconds and let them absorb what you’ve just said.
- Don’t debate. Nothing is gained by discussing the whys (and it could lead to legal problems later).
- The close. Stand, shake hands and act like a human being.
Source: John McKee, “9 tips for how to fire someone,” in Tech Republic
Always keep in mind that, someday, the person being fired may be you.
If you have stories about making firings as painless as possible, we’d like to hear them.
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a public relations campaign that fires up your prospects and clients, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.