Affiliate Programs

How to fire an employee

When a boss/employee working relationship just is not working out, many supervisors wonder how to fire that employee. Terminating a person’s employment is a difficult situation, but the thing to remember is that it is not personal. The decision is based on the employee’s work habits and work behaviors being sub-par, and that is what the firing discussion should focus on. Tell the employee why they are being fired and mention any previous warnings or citations. Do not allow the conversation to become emotional or personal.

Remember that getting fired will be a traumatic experience for the employee, so grant them a few basic courtesies. First, do not discuss the fact that you are firing the employee with anyone else in the office prior to the termination discussion. The worst-case scenario would be that the employee hears a rumor that he or she is being fired before you have a chance to speak with him or her. Typically firing an employee should take place early in the day on a Friday so that the employee can have the weekend to recover from the shock and start fresh looking for new employment possibilities. Give the employee the option of leaving immediately after the conversation with the full day’s pay or leaving at the end of the day. Offer to clear out his or her desk and mail any personal belongings to save the employee the embarrassment of facing coworkers post-firing.

Man holding a post-it note with the words "You Are Fired"

Be aware that emotions prevent good listening, so you may have to repeat all or part of the discussion. Be patient and sympathetic, but not empathetic. Do not allow your own emotions or those of the employee to change your mind. Be firm, but kind even if you do not care for the person. A little human compassion will be appreciated.