An Unfortunate Guide to Firing People

Not the cheeriest of posts, but necessary nonetheless!

If you’re a business owner, manager or senior executive then, the chances are, you’ve been in the sorry situation of having to ‘let someone go’.

  1. Silence is Golden

If you’re giving someone the old tin tack, you may not actually even have to give them a reason as to why they were fired. If they’re still in their ‘probation’ period then you can simply let them go. If the person you’re dismissing simply doesn’t fit their role, this could well be the kinder option. Having said that, we’d suggest that you try and soften the blow by offering some top tips as to what they could do better in their next job!

  1. Ground them first

Once an employee has passed their probation period, there are certain rules and regs that you have to stick to. The first of which is sharing your troubles with the employee in question. (TIP: Make sure this is in writing, chinese whispers can be all too common in office politics!)

Should this fail, you move on to the disciplinary stage. Make sure you’ve done your research on the company T&C’s, and that you have all the facts about your employee’s gaffe.

Keep it positive! If they are looking to improve, start with verbal corrections; ‘How can I help to improve your job performance?’ and be sure to steer clear of ANYTHING related to their motivations. Give them the chance to have their say and then you can decide if the odds are still stacked against them.

  1. Rip the Plaster off

Here’s the hard bit. Keep it as short and sweet as possible. Avoid phrases like ‘no hard feelings’…that’s just asking for trouble really. We’ve heard stories of smashed computers, stolen stationery and even a broken window- you want to try and keep your (now) ex-employee as zenas possible.

Avoid awkward situations. (Bit of an obvious one.) This probably means going and getting their belongings for them, or at least escorting them back to their desk in a ‘friendly’ manner. Conversation, at this point, should be kept as light as possible.

Remember, you’ve just sent a shockwave through this entire person’s life, and therefore they deserve to be treated with a decent level of respect, (even if whatever they did was somewhat of a ‘grey’ area).

  1. Move on!

That’s it, job done. Literally. From this point forward, you should avoid any reference to work (apart from job references, of course)

Obviously, if this person is your friend, there’s no need to go changing your phone number and blocking them on Facebook….just keep it as practical as possible! Watch out for any signs of stalking on social media (at least LinkedIn will tell you if your ex-employee has developed an unhealthy obsession with you) and  go about your daily business. Like a relationship, a clean break is always your best bet.

There we have it! A complete, unfortunate guide to firing people. Use wisely and with caution.

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