How to fire someone the right way

Hiring and firing is part of the territory of owning and managing a business, and while hiring may bring celebration, firing can be awkward, emotional and an altogether unpleasant experience. When the time comes to be the bearer of bad news, there are certain considerations to be mindful of.

Provide appropriate performance management

When informing an employee that they are being dismissed, it should never come as a surprise to them. The employer should have provided adequate performance management throughout their employment to explain the outcome. This may involve regular meetings to discuss strengths and weaknesses and where they need to improve, with realistic targets set and monitored. The employee should have the sufficient support to enable them to perform to their best ability, with the opportunity to fulfil the expectations of the role.

Give constructive feedback

An employer must never be afraid to tell an employee the real reason that they are being fired. Too often now, companies are hiding behind covid-19 and cost-cutting to lay people off. A good employer will endeavour to grow and develop their workforce, and even in the case of an employment termination, it is good practice as a business to offer constructive feedback to allow the worker to learn from the experience. It lies with the individual whether they accept the advice, but it means they are offered some value from the company.

Choose the right place and the right time

Firing an employee should happen in a private setting away from colleagues, and it must be in person as a sign of courtesy. It’s a difficult conversation and the employee may feel embarrassed or get emotional, so it’s best to be out of eyesight of others. It’s also important to pick the right moment. It may seem there is no right time, but by having the conversation at the end of the day the employee doesn’t need to worry about talking to colleagues and having to carry on working distracted. They can go straight home to process what has happened and seek support if needed.

It’s tough, but it’s business and not a charity. Quite simply, if the worker fully understands the expectations placed on them in the role and they are still not performing, then they cannot expect to be employed. However, there are right ways of going about it to ensure that the employee is treated respectfully and given the appropriate information and advice to help them in the future of their working life.

Lezly D’Limi, Managing Director, Tailored Resources