Telling someone that they no longer have a source of income is probably one of the hardest parts of your job. But as a hiring manager, you know that sometimes the cost of keeping someone is greater than the benefits they provide to the team. Firing someone the wrong way is going to cost both you and the company a mountain of time and effort; many hiring managers find themselves falling into these firing traps:
The termination was a surprise to the team member. Firing someone should be a formal, deliberate process. Verbal and written warnings should be administered, progress checks should be implemented, and a plan for improvement should be agreed upon. Firing people should be the last resort.
You (the Hiring Manager) were not prepared. Have data to support your decision to let someone go. Be able to give them direct evidence as to why their performance led to the situation.
You allow back-and-forth discussion. Don’t let the employee drag you into a conversation. Once you state your decision clearly and provide your data evidence to support it, there should be nothing else to discuss. You are the boss. Chances are that the employee will be upset, so don’t let them take control of the conversation.
You wait until Friday to do it. Firing someone on a Friday might seem like a good idea, but it really isn’t. The terminated employee will spend all weekend stewing over what happened and growing more frustrated with the situation. An employee let go on a Monday will be upset, but they will be able to wake up the next morning and start their job search.
You sugar-coated the truth. You’re not dealing with a small, fragile child. You’re dealing with a professional adult and they deserve to be treated as such. If the person is being let go because of unsatisfactory performance, then tell them that! Don’t tell the employee that they’re being let go because of “downsizing” if it’s untrue; lying to them about their performance isn’t going to do them any favors.
You forget to provide important severance information. Most hiring managers don’t realize that the meeting during which they terminate someone might very well be the last time they see that person. Make sure you close the conversation with information they will need moving forward, such as when they will receive their last paycheck, unemployment options, and insurance benefit information.
Firing an employee is hard, but planning ahead, avoiding certain situations, and remaining in control of the conversation will help you avoid unnecessary complications.
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