Human Resources
 min read

Everything you need to know to fire an employee

Being a boss can become an enriching experience in life, however, one aspect that some employers relish is firing their employees. Learn tips on how to fire an employee.

Being a boss can become an enriching experience in your life, my friend. However, one aspect that some employers relish is firing their employee. Firing your employee can also be difficult if you have developed some kind of personal connection with him, or if the employee has genuinely served your company for years. Before you fire any employee, always make sure to think it through carefully.

I have a good friend named David who was accused of being incompetent by his supervisor, but the company’s boss didn’t take the supervisor's words and in fact, asked for proper documentation that confirmed supervisor’s opinion. That’s how the employer avoided acting rashly and took a sensible decision. However, some decisions are beyond correction and this calls for an employee to be sacked. Whenever the separation is done, it should be with dignity and respect. Sometimes, you salvage good staff to regain better productivity by having new hires and investing more in their training. Whatever the grounds, have you thought about when it’s necessary to dismiss an employee? When is the time to terminate an employee?

Bad behaviour

Are the rules being followed? If the employee of the company doesn’t know how to behave or follow the rules of the company, sacking him might help. However, you can give him some time so that he rectifies his issues; if he does not, then he needs to pursue some other career. Right?

Affecting morale

An office bully can become a pain for you and your other employees. You cannot ignore the ripple consequence of his weird personality that undermines every person who has to deal with him. Letting him go is the best possible answer to this, so you’d better say good bye!

Apathetic behaviour

If your employee doesn’t care then why should you? Isn’t that logical? If he doesn’t care about your customers, company, work and his co-workers, then why have them in your team? You can’t change his attitude so you’re better off firing him.

Damaging productivity

You feel helpless simply because “someone” doesn’t complete his task on time. He fails again and again to perform his part on a project. If reminding him repeatedly doesn’t help, it’s time to hire someone who’s more responsible and productive.

Thriving on drama

Some employees relish disagreements and love to thrive on dramas. Actually it’s their mentality that they enjoy by hurting others. They disapprove of the company at every step and opportunity. They fight, sit back and enjoy the entire show. Just remove the tumour and heal your company.

Carrying out violations

Many companies have policies and if they aren’t adhered to, then employees require irrevocable and immediate termination. An employee can’t bring a weapon to the office or plan any theft, so this or any other major offense requires immediate termination. Moreover, an employee should know that he will be charged with a penalty for breaching a company’s theft/ weapon/ policies.

If you have thought about firing your employee, you should be brief and speak only about the relevant topic because he will then understand the  situation clearly. However, avoid emotional, personal and any unsuitable remarks. On the other hand, you must admit that your employee can also seek legal help if he desires. Therefore, before you take the serious decision of firing someone from your company, you need to know everything related to it. Below are some suggestions to make it easy for you.

Are You Firing For A Reason?

Remember, whatever the reason, good, bad or ugly, it should be valid. Don’t try to be vindictive, rather understand the reasons that are valid for firing an employee. Seriously, as per my experience, you can land in some serious trouble. The reason could be that you violated laws designed solemnly to protect the rights of workers. The ramification of this violation can cost you to retain (as well as maintain good relationship with) that same employee who you accused for the wrong reasons. However, the laws vary as per different states so understand your state laws before thinking it’s okay to kick out an employee.

Never Get Personal

If you have an aversion to a particular individual or race, don’t ever project those feelings on your business related judgments. For example, you cannot fire a person simply because he/she is a Jew or homosexual, or you may face a court case for wrongful discharge and employment discrimination. Rather, create a report of the employee's performances. Keep the negative reports aside or the warnings you’ve given to him. This will help to defend yourself later by showing that you’ve issued many written warnings to that employee or his job performance was not up to the mark. In case your company has written policies about poor performances or employee’s discipline or inappropriate conduct, ensure that you attach the same to the dismissal letter for his reference and knowledge.

Keep Things Confidential

Determine who should be included in this important decision and inform only those who can assist you with the decision and paper work etc.  Always ask them to keep things confidential until the firing is done. In fact, you may also tell them to refrain from discussing this topic with others. This will help to curb rumours in your staff.

Consider All Necessary Legal Requirements

Take all the necessary legal requirements into consideration. As an employer, you will have to comply with them and you cannot fail to complete them. For example, the employee’s due compensation or commission should be calculated before terminating him and must be released as soon as possible. For this, you must try to have related documents (like severance offers), and this requires a written acceptance ready with you.

Arrange Necessary Meetings

You must call the necessary parties for a meeting so that everyone is in the loop. If you need the supervisor to explain the reasons why that employee is fired, consider having him at the meeting. The supervisor can be present for the (or small portion of) entire meeting. In case you want human resources to be available in order to explain the employee’s rights regarding his health insurance, or similar matters, you may also have them attend the meeting.

Arrange the meeting in some private place because it’s very likely that the firing process can become upsetting or awkward for that person. Hence, don’t involve the entire office and keep them away from watching through the conference glass walls, and have the meeting as private as possible.

Be Frank

Be frank and put forth your reasons why you are terminating your employee. Therefore, avoid saying "well, jeez, as per me you’re making efforts but it doesn't seem to be working though I’m seeing a few results, blah blah." Any such statement will give him false hopes and he might think he’s getting another chance.

Take Back the Employee's Access Cards or Keys

Ask the employee to return keys and access cards of the office. If your employee is understanding, collected and calm, there’s no harm in allowing him to collect his personal items and meet his colleagues before his final goodbye to them. However, if the terminated employee is somewhat disruptive or can harm his co-workers, escort him to his desk or work station and ensure that he safely leaves the office premises. In case you’re concerned that he may return to the office to cause any trouble, alert the office security, change the locks or access codes so that he is unable to gain entrance.

Post-Firing Contemplations

Even if the tough decision and tricky task of sacking your employee is done, your work still remains. Remember, you must not laugh at your employee amongst your office staff.  This type of attitude is not professional and can also be a deterrent to your employee’s morale, particularly if he was liked by his colleagues.

Most companies have employees who are a pain for them, but some employees with bad behaviour also get corrected if the employer tries hard enough. Turnover isn’t easy on the pockets and is also demanding on various departments as well as HR. Nobody can actually underestimate the worth of employees because they know and comprehend the company’s culture quite a bit. If employees are competent with their work, comfortable with the office atmosphere and do not require much training, then the company can flourish. If any of your employees have some bad habits that are largely affecting your team negatively, then it’s the manager’s role to spot and rectify them – not the employee’s.

Never apologize and never negotiate. Let that employee know that it’s your final decision. And you want to end the termination process painlessly and quickly, and that there will be no negotiation at all. Wish him well for his future, but never prolong the meeting or damage his dignity. However, we cannot determine the time required for the process of firing. All you can do is make the termination quick, easy and painless – and make that happen.

To Wrap Up

In conclusion, it’s important to be courteous but impersonal if you want the termination hassle free for both you and your employee.

Jose Leon
Verified writer

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