6 Steps to a Smooth Termination | Grace and Goodwill

If you’ve ever had to fire an employee, I’m sure you would agree it can be a difficult situation. Sometimes, firing an employee is your company’s only option. It’s not something any business owner or manager looks forward to, but is often a necessary step towards more efficient production or cutting back expenses. Much like pruning, without it, a company’s growth could become stagnant.

The key to a smooth termination is knowing how to do it gracefully while fostering goodwill in the process.

Oftentimes the key to laying off an employee gracefully isn’t always about what you say, it’s how you deliver the news. The next time you have to fire or terminate an employee, use this 6-step guide to smooth out your process.

1. Don’t beat around the bush.

Once your decision has been made, move forward right away. Delaying the process can only cause confusion and anxiety for you and others involved. As soon as the meeting starts, be clear with your intentions. Start by putting yourself in their shoes. If you were being fired, you wouldn’t want to start the conversation by talking about your family or the weather. The conversation should be treated with respect, not a casual discussion.

2. Meet in a private place.

Many people often feel embarrassed or emotional when they’re being fired. Don’t fire people in front of other workers. Not only is it bad for morale, but your employees may have relationships with one another. Remaining employees may fear they are next on your list, and as a result their future performance may suffer. Take the meeting behind closed doors and deliver the news in a calm and professional manner.

3. Have a witness.

When firing an employee, you should always have another manager, human resource representative, or another trusted staff member with you. You and one other person is enough. This way the witness can confirm your actions were ethical and legal, in the event the terminated employee initiates any legal action against you.

4. Be prepared for questions.

Employees may ask questions about why they are being let go. You don’t want to give reasons why that specific employee is being laid off, while others are being retained. You only want to address their performance and expectations that have not been met. Briefly make mention of specific requests for improvement, performance reviews, and their responsibilities. The decision has been made, so there is no reason to discuss the issues at length. Try to be specific yet brief.

5. Provide reassurance.

Keeping a stagnant employee on staff not only does your company a disservice, but also the employee. Let’s face it, sometimes a termination is not due to lack of effort or good intentions from either side of the table. Employees want to do a good job, and employers want to feel that they’ve spent their time and energy wisely. Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be, and that is okay. Assure the employee that they have potential and can find a better environment for them that will allow them to thrive.

6. Offer resources to help them through the transition.

An easy way to lessen the blow and generate goodwill with a terminated employee is to offer resources that can help them get back on their feet faster:

  • Consider offering severance, or paying them through a specific period of time.
  • Offer to give them a good employment reference.
  • Hire an outplacement firm that will provide career counseling services and help them land a new position faster.

Plus, most of these resources are either free or low-cost in comparison to potential litigation, or risking an effect on performance with remaining staff members. Your efforts will be recognized by remaining employees, as well as setting them at ease.

Grace + Goodwill = Smooth Termination

A combination of the above steps can help avoid any negative consequences from a termination.

Learn how Outplacement can help smooth your termination.

DAVRON recruiters provide outplacement services to help place your transitioning employees into new career opportunities.  Our outplacement experts will provide consultation, training, and proactive marketing campaigns so your employees will achieve a successful transition in their career through our outplacement services.

Whether your firm requires outplacement assistance for one employee or one-hundred, from entry-level to executive, we can help!  Our outplacement plans allow you to customize and tailor-fit a solution that’s appropriate for any organization going through downsizing, re-organization, or layoffs.