Let Them Go, but Firing is Hard To Do
Employees are like puzzle pieces. When they fit with your organization, the relationship creates a clear vision of the bigger picture–mission. No matter how hard you push, rotate, or wish the wrong piece to fit, it won’t. If one of your team members is not right for the organization, keeping them in the mix takes away from efficiency and a cooperative work environment.
Saying “you’re fired” isn’t easy for anyone, except maybe Donald Trump. CBS News offers some insight into How to Fire the Employee Who’s Holding You Back:
1. Keep detailed feedback records. Make sure a clear understanding of your expectations and their performance exists from the start. The decision to fire an employee should not be unexpected; provide them with ample opportunity to succeed before resorting to firing.
2. Get over the guilt. Focus on the future and best interests of the organization and staff morale. Managing sub-par employees costs more time, money, and productivity than hiring someone better suited for the role.
3. Be direct and to the point. Use the words “terminate,” “let you go,” or “fire.” Write a script if necessary and prepare a list of items to cover during the conversation. Showing sympathy is fine, but stay focused and level-headed.
4. Be respectful. Avoid accusations or pointing the finger and don’t become defensive. Thank the employee for their efforts, shake hands, and offer them a reference if appropriate. There is no need for hostility.
5. Promptly notify the rest of your staff. Avoid rumor spreading or gossip, but also prepare your staff for the change.
In addition, be clear and prepared in discussing severance, unemployment benefits, and how you will characterize the dismissal. If you are eliminating the position, you can share that while still informing the staff member are not a good fit for growth in your changing organization.
Letting a mismatched employee go can be positive for your organization. It lets them be the right fit for another puzzle.
If your organization doesn’t have a dedicated HR professional on staff, consult with appropriate members on your board and your lawyer if you feel you need legal advice regarding any employee termination concerns.