Donald Trump has no problem saying, "You're fired." But most bosses sweat saying those two words. There are several ways you can prepare for this all-important meeting—and save yourself and your employee some heartache.
Make sure you have given the employee a fair chance to improve his performance. Have you brought up your specific concerns on multiple occasions? Was anything done to address those concerns? Could you provide more training or guidance?
Make sure you have retained detailed notes from performance reviews. Planning and documentation is the best way to avoid costly litigation. If you decide that termination is the only option, these 10 guidelines will help both parties:
1. Decide when and where it will happen
Don't do this on the fly. Make sure that you will be in a quiet, uninterrupted space. Also be careful about the timing of the event—if possible, don't do it on a Friday afternoon.
2. Mentally prepare yourself for the meeting
Accept that it's in the best interest of the company and your employee to end the relationship. Don't get weighed down by guilt.
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3. Be direct
It's likely you'll be tempted to soften the blow. But it's important to remember that when bad news is delivered, people often go into "selective listening mode"—and hang onto the positive. Deliver your message clearly.
4. Make it short
Don't prolong the conversation longer than it needs to. After delivering the news, allow your employee time to reflect and respond, but wrap things up before it gets too emotional.
5. Have a heart
You can be direct and concise while still being empathetic. Also keep in mind that the way you relay the news will affect how the employee takes the news—and if they will pursue litigation.
6. Focus on the employee
Avoid emphasizing how difficult the situation is for you, or defending your actions. It will come across as self-serving and the employee may question your decision.
7. End the meeting with a kind word
Thank them for their time with the company. This will be your last impression upon the employee. Make sure they understand that you are human.
8. Arrange for backup
Your HR specialist should be ready to sit down with your employee immediately after your meeting to go over details such as health insurance, etc. Also, ensure that you've fully briefed your HR on your reasons for terminating the employee before doing so.
9. Give your employee some dignity
Allow for them to determine how they will leave—immediately or later in the day. Offer to allow them to pick up their belongings later. You may also consider giving the employee the option to resign instead.
10. Let the rest of your team know
And let them know immediately—don't allow time for rumors to flow around the office. If appropriate, arrange for a meeting to discuss any concerns about the termination, and how the departed employee's work will be allocated.