The Right (and Wrong) Way to Fire

by Evil HR Lady on March 9, 2017

Sooner or later, almost every manager has to fire someone. And let’s be clear: Firing is different than laying someone off. The latter is a business decision in which the targeted employee is innocent, while the former is a response to employee behavior. We’re talking about firing here. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.

Don’t React Quickly or Emotionally

Do: Remain Calm and Patient

So, you catch an employee stealing equipment. You should immediately say “You’re fired!” right? It seems like a logical reaction. You’re not going to keep the employee who’s stealing from you, but what you should do is tell the employee that she is suspended pending an investigation. Why? Because when you fire someone you don’t want anger to come to play. It increases tensions and can complicate the outcome.

To keep reading, click here: The Right (and Wrong) Way to Fire

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie March 9, 2017 at 5:45 pm

“Give the employee a serious of warnings.”

I think you mean “series.”

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Maria Rose March 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Yeah, to fire someone you need a series of warnings on exact same problem, which when you are dealing with an employee, who feels their presence at work is all that is needed to be paid. These abusers of having a job for pay but no effort, react by claiming harassment and discrimination when written up. You have to also give a blanket warning to all to cover situation. These are the same people who claim they need parental leave every Friday thru Sunday every week, without actually spending time with family. In order to effectively deal with these types of employees, a person in management, really needs to be diligent in followup checking. These employee abusers make work life harder for fellow employees.The problem is that because of the needed paperwork trail it makes it harder to fire such employees because they know how to push the buttons and get away with not doing job with excuses. If not documented every time, they do an infraction, even if excuse seems to cover problem, eventually a pattern will arise, over the long term. Just a needed paperwork which is often considered too much work.

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Michael April 18, 2017 at 6:32 am

May I just add that a termination should never come as a surprise? Save for a summary dismissal for a serious disciplinary issue (e.g. theft, fraud, assault, vandalism, insubordination etc.), a termination should never be served by ambush on an unwitting victim.

If an employee is being terminated at the end of his probationary period because he is unsuitable for the position, a series of feedback should have been provided to him during the course of his probation. Each feedback should be documented. The manager should clearly communicate to the employee what he expects of him and the reasons why the employee is failing to meet said expectations.

In the case where an habitual good performer has let himself go and is no longer meeting expectations, the manager should address the issue in the form of a performance improvement plan (PIP). The employee should be told precisely why he is failing to meet expectations and be given a deadline for improvement. Ideally, the manager would monitor the employee’s performance on a regular basis and provide feedback as necessary. The employee should know if he is on the right track before the end of the PIP’s deadline for improvement.

In the case of minor disciplinary issues (e.g. tardiness, stretching breaks beyond the allotted time, using the internet for personal purposes etc.), the manager should warn the employee and demand immediate correction of the undesirable behaviour. Regardless of the number of warnings that a manager wishes to give before firing an employee, the final warning should be written, witnessed and signed.

At the end of the day, managers should remember that employees are humans who have the right to be treated with respect. Firing an employee is not like replacing a defective printer.

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