Terminating an Employee

July 16, 2012

The decision to terminate an employee is never an easy one. It is important to ensure the process is completed properly, and with compassion.

When termination is inevitable, it is helpful to map out the process before notifying the employee.

1) Prepare what you're going to say. It is handy to write down some key points of what you are going to discuss so that you cover all of the bases.

2) Document your reasoning. If the termination is due to poor performance, or lack of policy adherence, etc., it is important to document the instances where this has occurred. It is equally as important to have addressed these issues with the employees prior to the decision to terminate, giving them the opportunity to correct the problem.

3) Be direct. Be Honest. The news should not be drawn out, but rather delivered quickly and compassionately. Explain the situation, and the reasoning behind it as concisely as possible.

4) Deliver the News Face-to-Face. A private meeting between you and the employee is best. Losing a job can be an emotionally taxing situation for an employee, and they will appreciate having time to digest the information in a private setting.

5) Be Compassionate. Having an understanding of the emotional toll job loss can have on an employee, can help you to understand the best way to conduct such meetings. Be prepared to handle an emotional reaction in a professional manner.

6) Provide Constructive Feedback. You can help an employee move on in their career by providing constructive feedback and ample notice. If possible, provide the employee with 2 weeks notice of their impending termination so they have some time to secure new employment. If termination is due to poor performance, offer advice on ways they could improve. If an employee provided exemplary service or a showed a good work ethic, offer to write a letter of recommendation or provide a reference for them. This will help you and the employee feel more optimistic about future endeavors.

7) Keep Records. Keep all documents related to each employee's employment record. It should include copies of performance reviews, evaluations, promotions, pay raises and bonuses. Also keep copies of documentation related to disciplinary measures, or discussions over poor performance, lack of policy adherence, etc...Make sure to have a detailed, concise reasoning for termination.

When in doubt, seek out help. SELECT provides a menu of services designed to assist employers in the difficult task of termination. We can also help with conducting exit interviews as well as placing terminating employees into new positions. Call us to customize a plan for you.