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January 18, 2017 in Employee Management, Compliance

Human Resources Management | Firing an Employee: Lessen the Stress

Terminating an employee is often the toughest part of a boss’s job.

Termination Checklist

Before employees end their employment, review the following:

Company property – Have employees returned ID badges, keys, company credit cards, classified materials, company manuals and books?

Financial matters – Will employees receive severance pay? When will final checks be received? When will tax forms be distributed? Have final expense reports, company loans and cash advances been accounted for? Do employees need to close credit union accounts? Have stock payments been made? What about reimbursement for accumulated vacation time and tuition credits? Do employees know how the company retirement plan works?

Insurance – Explain continued coverage and conversion options on medical, group life and disability insurance?

Draft a termination form that includes a checklist of these topics. Mark an “X” after each topic which you discuss with exiting employees. This way, you’re reminded to collect keys and office property. In the future, employees can’t complain that you didn’t explain about insurance conversion options and the retirement plan. Both you and the employee should sign this form at the end of the termination interview. (Provide room next to the employee’s signature for a change of address.)

Let’s say you have a problem with one of your employees. You’ve given the employee verbal warnings. You also gave the employee a written reprimand, signed by you and the employee. In short, you’ve made every attempt to salvage the employee.

There’s no way around it: You must fire the employee.

Here are seven techniques you can use to make the job of terminating someone less unpleasant.

  1. Adjust your attitude.Approach the firing in a positive manner. Never terminate an employee when you are upset.

Example: Think of the termination as in the mutual best interest of the employee and your company. If you don’t let the employee go, you will be depriving the employee of career time in another organization where he or she will have a future.

  1. Choose the setting.It is to your advantage to approach the employee at his or her work station or another private location. Avoid your office. This allows you to say what needs to be said and leave when finished. You won’t be trapped in your office by an employee grasping at straws.
  2. Use good timing.Time the termination to take place at the end of the employee’s work shift. This will keep the situation from disrupting your other employees.
  3. Plan your approach.When you approach your employee, get directly to the point. Give the employee straight, honest reasons for the termination. The employee has a right to know the reasons for being terminated. Don’t be vague in your answers or concentrate on personal deficiencies. Explain briefly and to the point the reason or reasons that prompt the termination.
  4. Be firm.Make it clear, in an unemotional manner, that your position is firm. Your decision to terminate the employment is final. Don’t get drawn into an argument over the reasons. If an argument arises, use reasons that are objective and hard to argue. But stay on track as diplomatically as possible.
  5. Wrap up the termination in one discussion.Don’t leave any loose ends. Ask for keys to the office, control of the files, and important papers. Tell the employee how the final paycheck will be handled. When the discussion is done, the matter will be finished, and you can move on to more productive duties.
  6. Have all your homework done. Go into great detail when preparing for an employee termination. Document all actions and decisions. Don’t back down. When you back down from a termination decision, you are only heading for bigger problems.


Best Time to Fire?

What day of the week do you usually fire a worker? If you’re like most employers, you probably give an employee the pink slip on Friday at 4:30 p.m..

But some experts counsel the best time to discharge is on Monday.

Why? Employees fired on Fridays stew the whole weekend. They may count up all the perceived wrongs you inflicted on them. They commiserate with friends who are only too happy to make you out as a Scrooge. And although you and your former employee shook hands before parting on Friday — on Monday, the same worker may pound a fist on a lawyer’s desk and cry “Wrongful Discharge.”

Employees discharged on Monday have the workweek ahead of them. After leaving the workplace on Monday they can vent feelings of anger, frustration and despair. On Tuesday, they can contact employment agencies. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, they’re drafting resumes and can be scheduling job interviews with other employers.