Enough Is Enough: 4 Tips for Firing an Employee Properly

Category: Human Resources

It’s never pleasant to fire an employee. It’s never pleasant to have an employee who needs to be terminated, as the process can be challenging. But we all know that occasionally, employees do need to be fired, or your business can suffer.

Managers and business owners need to be sure that underperforming employees are terminated in the right way. If they’re not, they could be disruptive, affect the morale of their coworkers, and even pursue litigation. Here are four best practices to follow.

1. Get a corrective performance plan in place.

Most companies review their employees’ performance periodically. Whether you do this once a year or at a three- or six-month mark after hiring, one of the benefits to you is that you will know if an employee is not performing up to par. Use the performance review to document areas or skills that need correcting.

Discuss these areas with the employee and develop a corrective performance plan. Let the employee know the areas or skills that need improvement. Be specific and document it. This can help you avoid charges of unfairness or even litigation later on. It’s also a good idea to let them know that their performance must be improved, or they could be subject to termination.

2. Don’t let it be a surprise.

Once you’ve documented specific ways in which the employee needs to improve, be sure to review whether the improvement is taking place or not. Give the employee enough time to reasonably up their game, but not so much that they feel no urgency at all.

If they’ve been given three or six months, for example, review their performance every month. Let them know the results. In other words, if they aren’t improving, don’t let termination come as a surprise.

3. Have termination policies in place.

If improvement doesn’t occur, you will need to fire the person at the end of their corrective performance plan. Put a termination policy in place, so that your procedures are consistent and fair.

Your policies should include procedures for termination. The news should be delivered respectfully and fairly, but quickly. It should be private, so the person is not embarrassed. Upon termination, the employee should not have access to their office, the buildings, or the digital systems again. Be sure this is all arranged beforehand.

4. Remember other members of the team.

Terminations can have a negative effect on the employees that remain. Whether they see the termination as just or not, they can feel anxiety about their own performance or even fear about an influx of new work.

Be sure to express appreciation for their work to the employees who remain. If you can be transparent about the reasons for the termination without violating the employee’s privacy, do. It can also be a good idea to let them know the replacement plans, to relieve stress and help them focus on the future.

Barracuda Consulting Offers Training and More

Knowing how to terminate employees is highly important for risk management and smooth functioning – but not always obvious to all managers. Barracuda Consulting can offer training and other help designed in developing and implementing policies.  

We can customize training to your needs. Contact us today for more information.