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Graceful Techniques Of Letting Employees Who Aren’t Performing Well

Contrary to popular belief, bosses do not enjoy firing employees. It is an act which exhibits a failure on several different fronts. On the side of the employee, it shows that the hired individual was not able to satisfy the needs and standards of the employer. Firing an employee is not good for the company’s image either as it shows that there was a flaw in the hiring process and in managing the employee once hired.

Reasons for Termination

There are cases where in it is necessary for the company to fire an individual. Other than not meeting the required standards, the employee can have a personality or character flaw that is negatively affecting the rest of the team. This could create a toxic environment that could also influence how other employees perform in the office.

Steps to Firing an Employee

1. Plan your strategy
It may be the first time you find yourself firing a person but it will not be the last. Each person in your workforce will one day decide to move on or get terminated. As such, you need to have a plan on how to fire employees. Choose a place where you can perform the process. Make it brief and only allot 5-15 minutes to terminate the individual. Do not schedule strenuous activities before or after terminating the employee to allow yourself to cope with the situation as well.

2. Prepare for surprises
The process of terminating an employee can be stressful for a lot of people and not just the employee being fired. It can affect the individual performing the termination and the employee’s colleagues. As such, a lot of eyes will be watching how the event will occur and how each side handles the situation. Although you may already have a set plan on how to handle the situation, each individual may react differently to the news. Some may cry, start fidgeting, become anxious or even threaten you. Get the support of other members of staff to help diffuse the situation if necessary.

3. Think of the employee as an individual
Control the interview but do not embarrass or humiliate the employee. Do it during the early afternoon, preferably during the middle of the work week. This way, the employee can still seek emotional and legal help if needed. Never fire a person in public as this would humiliate the individual and may cause the individual to lash out. A firm but polite tone is considered the most effective in this type of situation. Give a clear explanation as to why you are firing the individual. You can also explain when the decision becomes effective, details on the severance pay and services that would help them make the transition. When delivering your script, look the person in the eye and maintain a consistent tone. Wait for a reaction and take the time to listen to what the person has to say before responding. It is important to think of the employee as a person but to keep your emotions in check as well.

4. Reviewing the process
Evaluating how the situation turned out is critical, especially if it is your first time firing an employee. Learn from the situation but move on. If there are things that need to be improved on, remember to incorporate those for future use. You may also need to talk to your other staff about what happened. This way you will get to find out what they felt about the situation.

Things to Avoid

  • Do not become defensive or argue with the employee. Allow the employee to vent his/her own frustrations but still maintaining professionalism at all times
  • Avoid making any apologies for firing the individual or blaming the company or other people for the termination. Simply explain that the employee’s skills did not match what the company needs at the time.
  • Avoid using emotionally-charged terms such as being dishonest or incompetent. Concentrate on the individual’s performance. If it is an issue with attitude, explain how it is affecting the person’s work and the other people around the individual.
  • Do not offer to find the person a job. It is not part of your responsibility and it may give the individual false hopes.
  • Do not discuss details of the termination to anybody else other than the parties directly involved.

Bethany Wesch writes about blogging, branding and online marketing. She writes for QuantumLinx a professional SEO Sydney company which specialise in providing online marketing solutions to small businesses and sales people.


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