6 Hints to Make Firing an Employee a Smooth Process

3 min read
Jan 6, 2016

hornsIt’s never easy to fire someone. Every employee has a family too, after all.

But sometimes things just don’t work out. Even if you give chance after chance after chance, some folks just remain toxic. They never really join the team. It’s unfortunate. But one single toxic employee can ruin an entire organizational culture.

Since that’s the case, managers need to deal with such individuals swiftly — terminating them when second and third chances run out. In most cases, firing people is never fun. So here are six tips to make the process smoother:


1. Have a paper trail

There are laws, and there are lawsuits. Who knows what the most toxic employee is capable of? Before moving forward with the decision to fire someone, it’s essential that you maintain a paper trail of said employee’s transgressions. It’s impossible to argue with facts.


2. Don’t catch anyone off guard

6_Hints_to_Make_Firing_an_Employee_a_Smooth_Process_2SOURCE: gifsoup.com

It’s unfair to fire someone if they honestly have no idea they’re about to be fired. Forgive employees to an extent, but make sure they know you mean business when they mess up. Workers won’t be surprised to be fired if you’ve repeatedly talked to them about their subpar performance and they’ve done nothing to change it.


3. Be decisive

If you’ve made the decision to fire someone, there’s no sense in reaming that person out for 90 minutes. You don’t want to be disrespectful either, so take more than 15 seconds. Be concise, but communicate clearly.


4. Time the firing wisely

6_Hints_to_Make_Firing_an_Employee_a_Smooth_Process_3SOURCE: giphy.com

Some folks will tell you to fire someone on a Friday. You can also find people who will tell you to fire someone on a Monday. You know your business better than anyone else. Don’t just fire an employee randomly. Carefully calculate the situation, and choose a time that makes the most sense for your business.


5. Tell senior team members ahead of time

Just like you don’t want to blindside the employee you’re going to fire, you don’t want to surprise your team, either. After all, there’s a good chance at least some valuable team members will be upset to see one of their peers go. But sometimes these things need to happen. Prior to giving a toxic employee the boot, be sure to rope some senior team members into the conversation. Those folks can then choose the best approach to relay the news to their respective teams.


6. Don’t apologize

6_Hints_to_Make_Firing_an_Employee_a_Smooth_Process_4SOURCE: giphy.com

Never forget, there’s a reason you’re firing the person in front of you. Whether they’ve messed up time and again or simply are toxic to your culture, you’ve given them a chance, you’ve compensated them, and for whatever reason they haven’t lived up to their end of the deal. Though you might be tempted to say you’re sorry, there’s no reason you should apologize. You are in a position of power, and people make their own beds.

Once toxic employees make their presence known, they seal their own destiny. Managers can’t afford to let these workers crush employee engagement. Firing someone is hard. But if you approach such decisions with these tips in mind, it’s more than likely the process will be noticeably smoother.

When you fire someone “the right way” — and there’s a right way to do everything — you won’t have to worry about a dip in productivity. And your team will even thank you for making the right decision, however difficult it might have been.



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