Firing employees is an unpleasant part of any business. It can be an uncomfortable and often costly process. It is reported that firing an individual can result in a loss of up to 200% of that employee’s annual pay.
However it is also, unfortunately, a necessary part of any business. There are a variety of reasons that an employee must be let go, and can range from inexcusable workplace behaviour to simply poor performance in their role.
Knowing when to fire someone is often very hard to discern, and can lead to much hand-wringing and deliberation. However, when the time does come, there are ways of making the process smoother and more comfortable for both parties. Below is a list of tips when it comes to dealing with possible employee termination.
Once you have realized that an individual is a bad fit for your company, it is tempting to immediately want to dismiss them from your company. However, it is incredibly important to follow the procedures that you have set out in your official disciplinary policy before doing so. These procedures may involve disciplinary meetings or warnings that must be given before an individual is terminated from the company.
Ensuring that you have followed these procedures will mean less potential legal issues, may result in the employee improving and the potential termination rescinded, and will ultimately result in a smoother, and less shocking, termination if it does go ahead.
When it comes to the termination meeting, it is important that you are properly organized and have the appropriate material at hand for the meeting. You must have all the appropriate documentation at hand, including evidence supporting their dismissal. You must also have evidence that you have stuck to the disciplinary procedures leading up to the dismissal so that you can not be considered in any way culpable for the dismissal of the employee.
Having the correct documentation at hand will ensure a much smoother process when it comes to the termination and lead to less confusion on behalf of the company and the terminated party.
The right time and place for a meeting is essential for ensuring a relatively smooth termination process, and can ensure that the impact on your business is minimized. Many say that earlier in the week is the best time to conduct a termination meeting. It can also be conducted over lunch to help minimize disruption of the working day.
Picking the right time and place is essential in making the meeting as comfortable as possible for yourself and the party being terminated. Avoiding having too many people at the meeting, if possible, will also help allay feelings of disappointment and embarrassment.
It is also important not to rush the meeting when the time arises. Ensure that you have arrived early and have all your objectives in order before the meeting begins. This will help reduce stress levels during a process that can be awkward and uncomfortable.
Forbes claims that “You need to be clear with the employee on two fronts- when you first hire them and if you have to fire them”. It is essential that you are open, honest, and clear with the employee about the reasons for their termination. You must be compassionate about the termination, but also firm in your resolve and leave no room for confusion or hope for re-hire.
This clarity can come from practicing beforehand. It might seem silly, but coming into a termination knowing exactly what you need to say, and how you need to say it, will help the process be as smooth and as open as possible.
There are some effective ways to save money for your business during the firing process, whilst still paying respect to the outgoing employee.
For starters, you can ask them to do a full handover of any tasks and processes in a shareable folder, so that it is ready for the next person who steps into their role, even if they do not meet them face-to-face.
Whilst a lot of contracts stipulate a notice period of several weeks or months, you can potentially save money by offering someone a severance package, which might make them seem they are earning a little more short term, it may be a saving for the company and the ability to get in and train someone new.