How to Terminate an Employee

Over half of American workers report feeling disengaged in their current position. These feelings of indifference and boredom can lead to a decrease in productivity and overall job performance.

If you notice that an employee has consistently been underperforming or has broken a company policy, you may feel inclined to terminate their position within your company. However, knowing how to terminate an employee with grace is crucial.

Unsure how to fire an employee? Keep reading for all the steps you should take to protect yourself and your company when letting a worker go.

Don’t Surprise Them

Unless the employee has violated company policy in terms of misconduct, theft, manipulating company records, or other immediate fireable actions, you should try to avoid a surprise termination.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, you’ll need to provide ample and actionable feedback. This allows the worker to improve their productivity or change behavior to better suit your company’s values.

Ensuring you provide feedback helps protect you in case the firing results in a lawsuit against the company. Be sure to document any feedback you have given the worker, including warnings and opportunities to improve.

If the employee continues to perform poorly, you can continue planning for termination.

Review Company Policy for Termination

Before you fire an employee, you’ll want to review your company’s termination policy.

This ensures you’re within your legal rights to let the employee go. If your reason for termination does not comply with the policy due to discrimination or unfireable actions, you may not be able to continue.

You’ll also want to review the policy to ensure that any specific steps your company requires during a termination meeting are followed. Meeting with a human resources representative ensures you’ll cover all of your bases.

Ensure You Can Fill the Role Quickly

Once you have decided to move forward with your decision, you’ll need to begin planning how you’ll fill the gap after firing an employee.

You should begin by drafting a job opening posting, so you can start looking for candidates immediately after the employee is terminated. If you plan on hiring within the company, this may make the job easier.

You will also need to redelegate tasks the fired employee usually handles. However, you’ll need to avoid transferring all their responsibilities to one person, which is unfair to other employees. Instead, try to break up the tasks and spread them evenly among workers until you can get the position filled.

You can also use this link to help you hire new employees quickly and effectively.

Gather Everything You’ll Need

Once you’re ready to schedule the meeting, you’ll want to ensure you have all the documents and paperwork you need. Printing a termination checklist can help you keep track of all the files and steps you’ll need when terminating an employee.

This includes any notes or reports you’ve made about the employee’s performance leading up to their termination, a termination letter, and an agreement that informs the employee you can verify their employment for other positions.

You should also have the employee verify their personal information to ensure their tax information is sent to the correct address.

Plan What You’ll Say

Once you have everything planned out, you’ll need to write a short script. This will keep you on track when speaking with the employee.

Though it can be hard to fire someone, it’s imperative that you keep it professional. Getting personal can only lead to issues further down the line.

Avoid anything that could indicate you’ll change your mind or that they could be rehired. Stay firm in your decision. You should also avoid giving your employee the opportunity to discuss your choice.

If they have questions about severance or insurance information, you should answer but try to avoid dragging the conversation out. You should avoid providing empathy or consoling the employee, as this is unprofessional.

Don’t forget to create a list of company properties that need to be returned before the employee is fired. This includes any files, passwords, tools, or uniforms.

Schedule a Meeting

Finally, you’ll want to schedule a meeting with your employee. This is the most challenging step for many managers and company owners, as no one enjoys firing someone. However, it’s a necessary step in the business world.

The meeting should be private, as terminating an employee in front of their coworkers is humiliating and demeaning. You need to treat all workers with dignity and respect.

Ensure you plan the meeting properly. If your employee relies on others for transportation, firing them in the morning can leave them stranded at the office. It’s best to schedule a meeting for early in the week at the end of the work day.

You should also coordinate with human resources or another manager to be present during the meeting. This will help protect you in case a lawsuit is filed for something that was said during the meeting. Similarly, an HR professional can help mediate the discussion if the employee becomes upset.

How to Terminate an Employee the Right Way

Firing an employee is never fun. However, following these steps ensures you cover all of your bases to protect yourself and the company while treating your employee with respect.

If you found that this guide on how to terminate an employee has prepared you to follow through with your decision, you’ll want to visit the rest of our website. You can learn more business tips and tricks to ensure your company finds success.

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