How to let employees go without hard feelings

Unemployed man

Whether you’re dealing with a problem employee or your business has fallen on hard times, letting an employee go is never easy.

Firing an employee is a necessary evil that should be handled with the utmost care and professionalism. After all, it not only affects that employee’s career, confidence, and livelihood, but it also affects your current employees and the overall atmosphere of the office.

Here are 7 tips for letting employees go without hard feelings.

1. Consider Outplacement Services

Outplacement services can be a great way of showing employees that the company cares about its people’s wellbeing. Choose a company that offers personalised services, so the employee can be prepared both emotionally and practically for the change to come.

It’s a good idea to have a coach set up for the employee ahead of time. In this way, through a private session, the employee is equipped with resources to help them manage their emotions and feel confident and supported around finding a new position that suits them.

2. Don’t Let it Come as a Surprise

Don’t let the termination of an employee come as a complete shock. If you’re dealing with a bad hire, give them an opportunity to improve, or leave, first. Pull the individual aside, have a conversation, express your concerns, and provide feedback on how they might improve.

If you’re dealing with a layoff, give the employee advanced notice. This allows them to continue earning an income while having the necessary time to find a new position.

3. Be Clear and Concise

Firing someone is hard enough as it is, no need to drag it out. During your conversation, be as clear and concise as possible. It’s important to pinpoint the reason for termination – layoff, performance issue, policy violation – and ensure the employee that there is no discrimination at play.

Be careful not to attack the individual as a person, but focus on the facts. It’s also a good idea to reiterate some of the good the person has done in the position. Explain how they benefited the company, the importance of their role, and offer to be a future reference. This can help to calm the employee down and prevent them from becoming defensive.

4. Keep it Private

This goes without saying, but be sure to keep the sensitive situation private. Not only should you arrange a private meeting to discuss the termination, but they shouldn’t have to empty their desk in front of their coworkers. Work with the individual to arrange for after-hours packing to allow them to leave with dignity.

5. Notify Existing Employees

The individual being terminated is not the only one to worry about. The event may make current employees feel uncomfortable and anxious, worrying not only about the new workload they may have but about the security of their jobs.

Set up a meeting with your employees to discuss the termination. While you want to provide a truthful explanation, keep it brief and be sure to maintain the privacy of the employee who was let go. In this meeting, you’ll also want to discuss a plan for how to extra workload will be dealt with, allowing workers to voice their opinions and ideas as well.

The Bottom Line

Nobody wants to have to fire anyone, whether it’s a bad hire or an unfortunate layoff. However, it’s a hard fact of business that must be dealt with.

These tips can help you manage a tough situation with professionalism, confidence, and gentleness.