How to Fire an Employee: 6 Tips to Help it Go Smoothly

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How to Fire an Employee: 5 Tips to Help it Go Smoothly

When a boss fires an employee, it should come as no surprise to either one of them. Think about Donald Trump and "The Apprentice." Everyone knows by the end of the season he will have told all but one applicant, "You're fired." It's not that different in everyday life.

According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adults average 11 jobs over a lifetime. Employees come and go. Some leave their careers voluntarily. Others get ushered out the door before they are ready to go. Although firing an employee is never an easy task, these 5 tips will help make it a smoother process.


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1- Don't let an employee firing be a surprise Give new employees a written job description. Let them know you will be documenting their performance. Conduct periodic evaluations to discuss problems as they arise. Communicate with your employees and they will know ahead of time when they should start thinking about a new career.

2- Relax, don't get emotional Firing employees is a part of doing business. As a manager, you should handle it professionally. Don't get anxious, angry or remorseful. To ease pre-firing stress, try relaxing for a few minutes; then get it done quickly, like ripping off a bandage.



3- Don't violate the fired employee's privacy Unless you are filming a reality show, never make an employee firing a public spectacle. Do it behind closed doors. That will also keep fellow employees from getting involved in the discussion or becoming future witnesses for a defamation or public humiliation lawsuit.

4- Never say "I" Even if an employee firing is your decision, you will be speaking on your company's behalf. A firing should never be conveyed as personal. Say, "We are letting you go....." not " I am letting you go...."

5- Just state the Facts "We are letting you go" is a simple message. Your employee doesn't need harsh language or sugar coated words. Keep it simple. Make it brief. -State the point: "We are terminating your employment....." -Give a reason: "because you lost a 2 billion dollar client.. " -Offer to answer any questions.


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6- Let HR handle the paperwork Once you've done the hard part, let someone else finalize the details. Send the now ex-employee to Human Resources for the exit interview and a little empathy. If you don't have an HR department, let an assistant or another manager handle the final paperwork.


Supervisory/firing experience Personal experience investigating wrongful termination cases

Bureau of Labor Statistics Report: Click for Link 

Bureau of Labor Statistics Chart: Click for Link 

By Carol 'The Nice Lady' Rucker