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How to Let an Employee Go

By Amanda Sides on Jun 10, 2016

If you're hiring employees, there's a good chance that, at some point, you're going to have to fire some of them. Maybe they don't put in enough effort or don't have goals that are in line with those of your business, or maybe you simply can't afford to keep them on right now.

While large companies have HR departments and specific protocols for dealing with this, small-business owners might find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to terminating an employee. Letting someone go is never easy, but here are a few things to keep in mind to ease the pain for both you and your former employee.

Take Precautions

You know you're terminating your employee for valid reasons, but if the employee is especially upset he or she might try to prove otherwise with a lawsuit. Speak with your lawyer about what you owe the employee as well as any specific words you should or shouldn't say.

Give Some Warning

If you're letting the employee go because of poor performance, give her some time to improve. Tell her specifically what you're not happy with and give her guidelines on how to improve; tell her you'll review the situation again after a certain length of time, at which point she will be invited to continue with her improved performance or be let go.

Don't Wait Until Friday

Fire him early in the week to give him the opportunity to reach out (during work hours) to people who might be able to help him find his next position. If he goes home on Friday night and can't talk to anyone until Monday, it's going to be a long, frustrating weekend for him.

Be Clear

Tell her why she's being let go, when she needs to leave, what she's getting from you (if anything), and if you're able to help her with her next steps. If she's a good employee but you're letting her go for financial reasons, perhaps you can introduce her to someone else who is hiring or offer to write her a letter of recommendation.

Be Human

This person is losing his job, his livelihood, maybe even his passion. Like getting dumped by a girlfriend or having Universal Studios turn down your screenplay, it's a rejection, and rejection hurts. Keep this in mind as you deliver the news.

Communicate Clearly With Remaining Employees

You don't have to go into detail; just let everyone know that so-and-so is not working with your team anymore, and reassign his tasks accordingly.

 

Have you ever had to fire someone, or have you ever been fired? What was your experience?

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