15 May 2012 Jay Shepherd

11 things you should do before firing someone

Firing people is the hardest thing a manager or employer can do. Here’s a checklist to help you make it just a little bit easier.

  1. Don’t fire when angry. Take enough time to make sure that you’re not making the decision for emotional reasons.

  2. Choose the appropriate day and time to minimize additional pain. For example, don’t do it right before Christmas, or on the employee’s birthday, or when everyone else is going to be milling around.

  3. Choose a location in the workplace that offers privacy, with the door closed.

  4. If you’re concerned about an angry or violent reaction, have security or another coworker nearby and ready.

  5. Have the employee’s final paycheck ready for the meeting. Include pay for the entire day of the termination, as well as any other money owed. Make sure your payroll people keep the termination secret.

  6. Make sure you include pay to cover any accrued but unused vacation.

  7. If the employee has computer access, make arrangements to have her locked out of the system while you’re in the termination meeting. Not before and not after. And make sure the computer person keeps
    the termination secret.
  8. Prepare what you’re going to say in the meeting, but don’t write out
    an actual script.
  9. If appropriate, prepare a severance agreement to give to the employee. (There’s an example agreement in the book.)
  10. Gather up any material that your state requires you to give to terminated employees. Often, this includes information on unemployment benefits and health-insurance continuation (COBRA).
  11. Decide how much notice you want to give, and how much transition
    time you need during which the fired employee will stay on. Hint: the answer should almost always be “none.”

All of these tips come from Firing at Will. If you ever deal with employees, this book will make your life easier. To order your copy, click any of the following links:

To read Chapter 1 for free, click the link at the top of the page.


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