Firing someone is never fun — for the employer or the employee. However, sometimes there is just no other viable option. When it comes to the last straw and you have to fire someone, you want to make sure you’ve prepared so you can do it the right way. Get started today with the contractor’s guide to smart firing.
Once you hire a new employee, start taking notes about their performance. If you haven’t done this with your current employees, begin right away. Take notes of anything significant regarding their importance, good and bad. When you need to fire someone, you’ll have documented reasoning as to why you’re firing them. If they argue that you’re only focusing on their mistakes and not their achievements, you’ll have proof that you’ve documented both their mistakes and their achievements while they were employed with your company.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Waiting too long to fire an employee wastes both your time and theirs. Sometimes people don’t meet the job description as well as they make it seem in the interview. Or they don’t learn as quickly as you need them to. As soon as you realize it may not be a good fit, warn the employee that they need to improve their work. Also include a timeline, like 30 days, in which they need to improve. If they don’t meet this standard in that timeline, you can feel free to let them go.
Consult with HR and/or Legal
Before terminating your employee, consult with your internal HR deparment. If your business doesn’t have HR or legal, consult with an outside lawyer. This is especially important if you don’t live in an at-will state, the employee is contracted, or the employee is part of a union. It’s important to verify with HR or a lawyer that you are firing someone legally so you avoid the chance of a lawsuit later on.
Have a Witness
Invite a representative from HR or a trusted employee to sit in on the termination meeting. This witness will be able to testify that you fired the employee in an appropriate, legal manner should trouble arise later.
Don’t waste your employee’s time with small talk when you are about to terminate their employment. As soon as the meeting begins, let them know kindly that you are firing them. Use clear words such as “I’m sorry it has to be this way, but this is your last day here,” or “I’m sorry, but this job does not seem to be a good fit. We have given you 30 days to improve and have not seen the changes made that we have requested. I am going to have to let you go.” It is important to make it clear that you’re firing them so there isn’t any confusion.
Inform Your Other Employees
After the termination meeting, let your other employees know of the change. Do not disclose why the employee was fired. Only inform the employees and let them know how assignments will change accordingly to dispel any rumors and gossip.
When you go to hire a new employee, take your time and choose wisely, so you can hopefully avoid the need to use the contractor’s guide to smart firing.
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