How to Terminate an Employee

How to Terminate an Employee

One of the most difficult things to do is to terminate an employee’s appointment. Relinquishing an employee from his duties at work can be a very unpleasant experience but as a manager, this is an unavoidable situation. There is nothing wrong with terminating an employee, but it must be done professionally. When terminating an employee; there are stipulated steps you have to put in place to make sure you discharge the employee professionally. Discharging an employee haphazardly can cause serious consequences for the organization at large and so you must discharge an employee in the right way. This article will explore a step-by-step guide on how to terminate an employee.

Reasons for discharging an Employee

These are some reasons why you may terminate an employee;

  • Unethical Behaviors
  • Poor Attendance
  • Poor Performance
  • Harassment
  • Incompetence

Effective Guide on how to Terminate an Employee

Document the Evidence

The first step to terminating an employee is to document the evidence that portrays that the employee should be terminated. If you feel as an employer that an employee is incompetent at work; gather enough evidence against such employee to authenticate your claims. If you do not have any substantial evidence on why the employee should be terminated; it may give other coworkers the wrong impression. Examples of such evidence can be the queries you gave to the employee for his misconduct in the past.

Run it by a Panel

As an employer or manager, do not single-handedly disengage an employee through a personal decision but have a solid ground to terminate an employee’s appointment. Some organizations have a panel, jury, or board of directors that are part of the management team of the organization. Consult the panel of your organization and give reasons why an employee should be fired. Allow the panel to also voice out his opinion on the issue; if they support your decision then you can go ahead and terminate the employee. Terminating an employee personally can create the wrong impression about you in the eyes of other coworkers. Some coworkers may feel you terminated the employee because of a personal grudge or hatred you instilled against the employee but terminating an employee through a jury is highly professional.

In addition, Failure to consult the jury may result in the jury asking you a question on why you relieved an employee of his duties without notifying them. The jury can also give you a fair judgment on the termination of an employee.

Initiate a Transition Plan

At this stage, you need to create a plan on how to go about the termination. Choose a good location and time when you will terminate the employee. Make sure you put the interest of the company first and how other coworkers will perceive this. You can terminate the employee early in the week like Monday but the best time to terminate an employee is on Friday afternoon so that other coworkers are not distracted.

Make the termination setting a private setting. This will help the employee to feel comfortable and at ease. This will also help you to interact with the employee and listen to his overall feedback on the situation. Some employees may also love to ask questions; give room for that.

Terminate the Employee Step By Step

Do not just terminate an employee haphazardly; follow a step-by-step guide. You are about to break an announcement that can be a serious shocker. This is a decision that cannot be reversed; you can craft a step-by-step procedure you will follow to break the news. Here are the steps:

  • Talk Logically: The best way to terminate an employee is to speak logically with a conversational style. You can start by giving the employee the tip of the iceberg of what you are about to tell him to ease the shock that your news may bring. For instance, “Hello James, I have some bad news for you today”. This will go a long way to tell the employee that something unpleasant is on the way and it will help the employee to prepare his heart for the worst.
  • Break the News:  Disclose the bad news to the employee in a short sentence and state why the employee is terminated from work. Tell the person vividly that he/she has been terminated from work. Make sure you use past tense and not future tense.  Say, “your employment with this organization has been terminated and not “Your employment will be terminated. Using past tense will help the employee to understand that his employment with the company has ended before the meeting.

State the reason for the termination. For example, “Mr. James, this reputable organization can no longer condone your incessant absenteeism at work. As you know, we have talked several times about your absence at work and I have served you with two queries, but there is no improvement at all. This organization needs committed employees, and we have decided to take a drastic step to initiate a change. As of today, you are not an employee of this organization”.

  • Avoid Unnecessary Compassion: It is very unprofessional to show outbursts of emotion when discharging an employee. Do not show any form of misdirected compassion but main strict professionalism. Avoid words like “we deeply regret our actions”, “we are deeply sorry”, “You should have known”, “I understand your pain” “this is very bad”. This can stir up the wrong emotions in the mind of the employee. Show the employee that you are doing what you feel is best for the success of the company.
  • Allow the Employee to Speak:  Allow the employee to give his overall feedback base on the recent developments. This news may bring anger, shock, and grief to his heart but allowing him to give his opinion will help you to ascertain the effect of the news on him.  The employee may also love to ask questions; answer his questions freely.
  • Disclose the Essentials: This solely depends on whether you want the employee to vacate the organization immediately or later, but if you have made proper arrangements for the salary; pay off the employee immediately. If there is no proper arrangement yet; Talk about the pay, benefits, references, ongoing projects, and other benefits the employee is entitled to. You can say “I will get back to you shortly”.
  • Conclude with an Appreciation: At this juncture, thank the employee for all his/her contributions to the organization. Walk-out the employee out of the private room to his office to pack his items such as pictures, bags, books, and other stuff. Also, retrieve any of the organization’s properties at the custody of the ex-employee. Shake hands with the ex-employee and wish him well in all of life’s endeavors.

In conclusion, terminating an employee is an unavoidable scenario but terminating an employee professionally is what matters. Follow the tips accentuated above to terminate an employee professionally.

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