How To Fire An Employee With Compassion

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How To Fire An Employee With Compassion

Firing an employee can be one of the most difficult decisions you have to make as a business owner/manager.  

Whether it be due to poor performance, poor character, or just a lack of funds to continue on with their position, eventually you’re going to have to break the bad news to one of your employees. A termination can be a very heart wrenching moment for you and your employee, depending on the relationships that have grown during their tenure. 

This guide will teach you how to fire an employee with compassion, and help them as much as possible while they move forward with their life. 

Before You Fire Your Employee

Before you terminate your employee, it’s important that you make sure you’ve done all you possibly can to salvage their career. 

Performance/Character Based
  • You’ve issued multiple verbal and written warnings of their performance/behavior.
  • You’ve asked your employee what YOU can do to improve their ability to meet expectations. 
  • You’ve reminded them of their job duties and expectations. 
  • You’ve explained to them that if they’re not happy in the workplace, the they can come to you for guidance. 
  • You’ve offered them the opportunity to resign on good terms. 
Financially Based
  • You’ve communicated with your team on the possibilities of pay scale restructuring. 
  • You’ve looked into creating a more useful job role for the cost of their labor.
  • You’ve cut back on unnecessary expenses like overtime, raises, bonuses, etc. 
  • You’ve considered executive compensation adjustments. 

If you have exhausted all of these options, you may need to proceed with the termination. 

How To Fire Your Employee

When firing an employee, there should be a witness in the room. The witness can be someone from human resources, or someone else in a leadership role with your company. This ensures the employee is being treated fairly, and this also protects you from being sued for wrongful termination. 

It’s important that you’re clear and get straight to the point. You could say something along the lines of: “Tom, we’re going to have to let you go. You’re performance these last two quarters just hasn’t been meeting our company’s standards and we’re left with no choice.” 

Be prepared to present documentation of your employee’s work performance or financial reasonings as to why the termination is occurring. If your employee is caught by surprise, they will likely argue the decision or ask for proof of any accusations. 

Explain to your employee that parting ways is just what’s best for the business, and that not everyone is a perfect fit for the business. 

Helping Your Employee Find Work

If your company offers any severance assistance, this will likely buy your former employee some time while they are searching for a new job. 

In the meantime, you can further assist them by providing tools that will help them land a few job interviews. You can refer them, or even help them register on tools like Indeed, LinkedIn, or ZipRecruiter.

If you have any connections in your industry, and you think there’s a company that your former employee might be a better fit with, reach out to them and ask if they’re interested. Your professional recommendation could help them land a new job immediately. Now if the employee was terminated for being horrible at their job, this is not the type of assistance you’ll want to provide as your recommendation reflects back on your name. So use your best judgment.

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