Terminating An Employee


Expert advice & tips

Employee Dismissal

Avoid Trouble: Knowing What to Say When Terminating an Employee


There are many reasons that make it
necessary for an employee dismissal. As
unpleasant as the idea of employee
dismissal might seem, business owners
and Human Resource Managers can
approach it in a well thought out way to
minimize the negative feelings
associated with “letting people go.”

Some of the reasons for employee
dismissal are circumstantial.

* Business and technological changes in
recent years have made it necessary for
employees to develop new skills. There
are instances where some of those
employees either cannot master the
skills or simply refuse to do so. That
brings the business owner face-to-face
with the need to eliminate a problem
they cannot solve in any other way.

* Downsizing is a business need that
confronts businesses both big and
small. Asian countries such as Japan
have had to learn the lesson that in
today’s global economy with all its
fluctuations and changes, the day of
“employment for life” has become
financially impossible.

* Automation that replaces people in
the workforce is also a reality of our
age. Labor-intensive tasks cannot keep
pace with automated competitors and
businesses must stay abreast of the
times or go out of business altogether.
Unfortunately, this fact produces the
same need to reduce the workforce.

And those are the easy ones--some
employee dismissal is distasteful.

* The employee is not doing his or
her job for whatever reason. It is one
of those situations that nobody likes
to deal with, but left alone it will not
get better all by itself. There is a dire
need for the manager to take
immediate action.

* There are times when an employee
becomes a liability the business cannot
afford to support. For example, a
refusal to wear protective devices,
smoking in undesignated areas, or
after repeated warnings for
misconduct create situations where
dismissal is the eventual consequence.


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Terminating an employee tips.



Just as in a court of law, you need to know what to say when terminating an employee. If fact, a court of law may be where you find yourself if you have not planned you words carefully. The odious task of terminating an employee in is not a pleasant experience and you will need to think it through and prepare. This is especially true if you are firing the employee who “for cause” (intoxication on-the-job, sexual harassment, physical and verbal abuse, theft of company property, and the like).

Before you say anything at a termination meeting, you should mentally prepare. Get control of your emotions allowing for a “cool down” time before continuing with the termination. It might be a good idea to jot down a few notes to remind you of what you plan to say. These notes with your termination letter should guide you through the meeting.

What to Say When Terminating an Employee in the Final Meeting

After that you call the employee in and begin the final meeting. Remember you must be clear, emphatic, and direct. If you are terminating the employee for drinking on-the-job, for instance, do not beat around the bush. “John, yesterday you were observed drinking while at work. You know this is in direct violation of company policy. The rule is the same for everybody, so I must terminate your employment effective immediately.”

In your planning, do not fail to consider the employee’s character and personality and prepare to handle any situation that may arise. Always keep in mind that how you say something is as important as what you say. Firmly, but directly, ask for the return of all company property (like keys or security cards) the employee may have in his possession. Give him at least thirty minutes to clean out his personal property and it is acceptable to have him do that under observation.

What to say when terminating an employee carries with it the need to know what to say to the other employees. They will need to have some reassurance from you that their jobs are not in jeopardy.

Another consideration would be the customers or clients the terminated employee may have dealt with. Let them know the employee is no longer working in your establishment but assure them they can expect the same quality service they are used to. Terminating an employee has far-reaching ramifications beyond seeing the back of the person leaving your building and knowing what to say when that process becomes necessary is an important matter.

Our problem employee said after we fired him "what took you so long". He's right. Here's what we should have done.


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