5 Best Practices for Terminating an Employee

No matter the circumstances, firing an employee is always difficult. However, by keeping a few important best practices in mind, you can ensure that the situation is handled as fairly, legally and compassionately as possible. Here are some helpful tips for terminations that are as stress-free and smooth as possible.

Give a Warning First

Don’t fire an employee out of the blue. First, give them a warning, or let them know that they are on notice. If an employee is warned that they may be terminated first, they will be less blindsided, angry or taken aback if the termination ultimately does happen.

Pick the Right Time and Place

When choosing to terminate an employee, pick a place that allows the utmost privacy. You don’t want the employee to be embarrassed or to have immediate contact with coworkers. Try to have the meeting at the end of the day, when he or she can naturally pack up belongings and depart.

Have Someone Accompany the Terminated Employee

Once the employee is terminated, make sure that someone from the company escorts him or her to pack their belongings and leave. You want to ensure that the employee doesn’t access the company’s computer to send or destroy files — or to take or destroy physical files. Company supervision can help make the situation less tense and ensure that all company material is protected.

Be Kind, But Honest

In your termination meeting, don’t be cruel to the employee, and have compassion while delivering the news. However, it’s important not to sugarcoat the information. Be straightforward about their firing, as well as the reason they are being let go. This will help ensure that the firing comes across fairly and clearly — and also that an employee doesn’t become too angry or upset at the office.

Don’t Forget to Prepare

Before you have a termination meeting, prepare well first. Gather data that supports the termination, have a witness or several to be at the meeting and prepare yourself to have a difficult conversation. If you prepare for a termination meeting properly, the meeting may be difficult or uncomfortable, but ultimately, it will go as smoothly as possible.

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