First Time Termination: Simple Guide to Firing Your First Employee

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a manager/supervisor that got put in charge in the onboarding and termination process, letting an employee go is never easy. In fact, terminating employees is known to be one of the most significant challenges that managers face as a leader, and in some situations, it’s caused unsuitable employees to remain in influential positions. No one wants to be responsible for cutting off the income that gets used to pay bills and providing for someone’s family. Fortunately, this quick guide got made to help you through your first-time termination.

Timing and Location

Choosing the right time and location when letting go of a staff member is highly essential. To keep from potentially creating panic in your office, publicizing the employee’s privacy, and creating gossip, you should hold the meeting in a closed off room. You shouldn’t be delivering the bad news in a glass office that has other office staff walking by it. You should also do it during a slower time of the day, and consider the fact that the employee could get visibly upset. There’s a good chance that they are going to feel embarrassed for being terminated, you shouldn’t want to intensify that feeling by allowing other staff to witness what’s happening.

Find a Suitable Witness

Even if you end up parting on good terms, it’s always smart to ensure you have a witness during the termination meeting. By securing a member of human resources or your manager and having them sit in with you, it eliminates the possibility of false complaints or accusations that a disgruntled employee could make. Additionally, the witness could also provide support and answer some of the questions that the staff member might have.

Keep It Short, Sweet and Simple

There should be no reason why a dismissal meeting should take longer than ten minutes if everything goes the way that it should. As a manager, your job is to communicate what’s happening, why the employee is losing their position, and what they can expect going forward. If you allow the meeting to go for too long, the chances of the staff member getting defensive go up, and you could create an uncomfortable situation for you both. It’s always best to have a plan before you go into the meeting.

Respect the Employee

Regardless of the reason that you are terminating the employee, it’s vital that you remain professional and respectful. The only time that something should change your demeanor is if the employee starts disrupting the business or the environment; otherwise, you should stay neutral and take personal opinions out of the business decision. The majority of the times, employees accept the fate of their termination professionally.

It’s crucial that you don’t lead your employee to believe that they’re getting fired before it happens because you could encourage them to get angry and retaliate by doing something potentially harmful to the business. Treat others as you would like to be treated and offer a sense of empathy.

Communicate Professionally

Once an employee has gotten let go, questions from other staff members come in. It’s just human nature to be curious. It’s a good idea to have proper communication with your other employees, and consider advising them of the situation before they have the chance to ask. However, keep in mind that you do need to be careful with what you say to avoid gossip. It’s important not to say too much, or too little.

Move On

It’s normal to feel some guilt once you terminate an employee, especially if it’s your first time, but you had a job to do. It might sound simple, but moving on and not dwelling on the situation is the best thing that you can do. As a manager, you need to think about the company, your other staff members, and your position as well; there’s a good chance that the terminated employee was detrimental to all of these things.

You should also keep from talking negatively about the staff member, what they did to get fired, or the type of work they submitted. If you begin talking badly about the employee, it’s going to put a bad taste in other employee’s mouths, and paint you in a very negative light.

Offer Support

There are going to be times where you have to terminate an employee due to cut-offs, company reductions, or even position eliminations. In cases such as these, the best thing you can do is offer the outgoing employee support and recommendations in their upcoming job search. The support that you give them is going to provide them with the confidence they might lose from getting let go.

However, if you don’t believe that the employee has what it takes, you shouldn’t provide them false hope by giving them references. You also shouldn’t offer them another place in the company if they aren’t suitable for the role.

Firing an employee for the first time isn’t going to be easy, though it does get better as you get accustomed to the act. While it’s never going to be something you get 100 percent used to, you do learn tricks in preparation, communication, and moving on. Keep the focus on your responsibilities to the business and your team, and remember that you’re not the bad guy. It’s tough being in the position that leads you to make difficult decisions, but you wouldn’t be in it if you couldn’t do it.

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First Time Termination: Simple Guide to Firing Your First Employee

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