Firing someone is never a nice task. And believe it or not, it can sometimes be as stressful for the manager doing the firing as it is for the employee being fired!
There are plenty of horror stories of the methods in which some people find out how they have lost their jobs. And of course most people who get fired never believe that they did anything wrong in the first place. The injustice of it all eh?
So, you are ready to fire someone. What are the do’s and don’ts of firing someone without any nasty repercussions?
Continuing our series of top ten’s, we have listed the ten things to avoid when you are relieving someone of their duties. The first five ways to fire someone are detailed below and part 2 will be with you next week:
1. Ways to fire someone, the right way: Try not to fire someone via Twitter
We have all read the stories in the news where people have been fired for posting defamatory comments about their employers on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. But is it acceptable to inform a staff member they are sacked using the same method or via fax or email?
There are numerous examples down the years of gutless management teams firing someone using these methods and even via answer machines.
Although firing someone via email, voicemail, text message, Twitter, Facebook or the like is not illegal, it could lead to some very negative PR.
Apart from being cowardly, that sacked member of staff will then go and bad mouth the company to anybody that will listen and undoubtedly they won’t blame themselves for losing their job.
Managers should have the courtesy to sit down with the departing member of staff and explain to them exactly why they are firing them. No other approach works.
At least then the fired employee will leave the business with a better opinion of you and the business and your remaining employees will be happy to see that you have handled things professionally.
2. Ways to fire someone, the right way: Don’t fire someone without prior warning
Firing someone is the final straw and shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to the person being fired, however stunned they pretend to be. However, that employee will be completed shocked if they are being fired completely out of the blue.
By constantly evaluating the staff member’s progress within the business, you will be able to offer coaching and feedback that ensure that a member of staff always knows how they are performing. This support should provide the staff member with all the encouragement they need and you should ensure that you document each step.
By putting a performance improvement plan (PIP) in place, you will be able to monitor a staff member’s specific improvement requirements. And if the staff member fails to make the grade, you will have documented exactly how the business tried to help them succeed.
3. Ways to fire someone, the right way: Ensure that when you fire someone they can’t access information systems
When fire someone, the last thing you want is to give them the opportunity to return to their desk and fire off a goodbye email. Why? Well think about the mental state of that person. You may think that they would be crazy to risk their final pay packet or reference by posting a silly email insulting the business externally and internally.
But that person might not be thinking straight and out of revenge or anguish they may well delete some data or put a virus on the system. Don’t risk it. Work with IT staff to switch off access whilst you are sitting with the member of staff giving them their marching orders.
4. Ways to fire someone, the right way: Keep your reasons for firing someone factual
If you have documented an employee’s lack of performance, there will be little point in going over old ground. Obviously you will have to give reasons for the termination, but going through every example will be humiliating for the employee in question.
There is also little point displaying any anger at this point of proceedings as both parties want to get this process done as calmly and amicably as possible.
You can summarise a dismissal by saying that their performance didn’t meet the standards expected from the company for such a position.
5. Ways to fire someone, the right way: Ensure when you fire someone that they don’t leave with company possessions
Make sure you have a checklist of everything that the employee should be handing back when their contract is finished. Most businesses have rules that if a fired employee withholds company property that there final pay packet can be docked accordingly.
Typically an employee will have a combination of the following:- keys, door passes, mobile phone, laptop, fuel card and an employee badge. You should also accompany the person out of the building and to their car, ensuring that the coffee machine doesn’t get a kicking on the way out!
You can read part 2 and another 5 things you should do to ensure you fire someone the right way by clicking the link below.