Have to Let an Employee Go? 5 Tips to Help Laying Someone Off Go Smoothly

If you run a business with employees, you may come to the point of having to let someone go. Whether you’re firing someone due to poor behavior or letting go because of downsizing, having to say goodbye to a teammate is not easy.

Before you dive into the firing process, first ensure that you’re taking the proper steps first. Letting someone go without just cause can lead you down a slippery legal slope that is not good for you or the company.

Once you know you have just reason to let someone go, it’s time to prepare for the unpleasant conversation coming. Global Resources has five tips that can help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Don’t Catch Them Off Guard

Before you start talking about the firing, ask yourself first if you’ve given the employee the opportunity to improve? In some circumstances, the person you’re about to let go of may not realize their performance isn’t meeting expectations, especially if you’ve never communicated this with them.

Suppose you’ve already had documented conversations with the employee about their job performance but nothing has changed. In that case, you’ll have more concrete facts to present during the discussion to back your stance.

Ensure Privacy

The employee who gets let go will likely already feel some embarrassment. It’s best not to add to that by either publicly letting them go or gossiping about the situation.

Call the employee into your office at an appropriate time of day. Pick a time when business wouldn’t be impacted as much, and maybe when coworkers aren’t around. Make sure to close the door and turn off any distractions, so the two of you have each other’s full attention.

Present the Facts

To ensure no one is confused about the situation, present just the facts as to why you’ve decided to let this person go. Do not bring in any personal feelings to the conversation. Keep it strictly about their performance or, if it’s because of downsizing, why you’ve made this decision.

Have Another Person Present

Although privacy is important to respect the employee you’re about to fire, it’s good to have a neutral party present. If you have an HR department in your business, you would ask someone from HR to join you. For those who do not have an HR employee, bring in someone you trust completely.

The purpose for this is if emotions take over from either side, the third person can step in to help calm the situation.

Don’t Rush the Conversation, But Don’t Drag It Out Either

Since you’re about to enter a conversation you likely don’t want to have, you may want to be in and out as quickly as possible. However, to ensure respect for the employee and fully understand why the firing is happening, make sure not to rush the conversation.

On the other side, though, you don’t want to drag things out. Keep it simple by focusing on the reason for the firing, and that’s it.

Even with preparation, having all the necessary documents in place, and being fully prepared for it, firing someone doesn’t always go as planned.