If there is one job that business owners tend to find the hardest, it’s letting employees go. It’s never easy saying goodbye to a team member, regardless of the reason for it. It’s not just about the emotional impact that firing someone can have on you, your team, and the fired employee, there’s also the legal side of things to worry about.
Before you can let someone go, you need to ensure that you have everything in order and know the best way to go out about dealing with the situation. Firing an employee too quickly without taking the time to take the proper steps can lead to a potentially uncomfortable situation, or even legal problems that could damage yours’ and your business’s reputation.
With that in mind, when it comes to firing an employee, it’s vital to go about it in the right way. According to HR experts, these are the steps that you should take when letting an employee go:
First and foremost, be consistent. What this means is treating all employees fairly, regardless of whether you get on with them or not. Favoring certain employees and not others is when lawsuits can arise, so it’s vital that you are consistent in terms of when a line has been crossed, and an employee needs to be let go of. For example, say one employee comes in late three times, and you don’t fire them, you can’t then fire another employee for exactly the same behavior. You need to be fair.
Give the employee a chance to improve
Being fired should never come as a shock to an employee. It’s important that there is a problem, you talk them about it and give them a chance to improve. Before firing someone, it’s vital that you have given them warnings before and explained what would happen if changes weren’t made. When a firing comes out of the blue, that’s when court cases can come about, so it’s vital that you give your employees a chance to make changes before letting them go.
Before firing anyone, it’s vital that you take the time to get organised. Start by seeking the help of an employment law solicitors, to ensure that firing the employee is legal. Then, get all the paperwork in order, and plan what you are going to say. The aim is to make the process as smooth as possible, which is why having everything prepared is so important. As well as explaining to the employee why you are letting them go, it’s also important that you explain the next steps, such as that they will need to pack their things, return their keys, ID, etc. and leave the building.
Set a time and date
Choose the ideal time and date to let the employee go. Ideally, you want to hold the meeting either before work or at lunch time, to ensure there is minimal impact on the rest of the team. Aim to hold the meeting at the start of the week, so that it’s out the way. Make sure to hold the meeting somewhere private and away from prying eyes.
Have backup on hand
Never fire an employee alone. You never know how they will react to being told that you are letting them go, so it’s a good idea to have someone on hand with you. This could be a manager or a member of your HR team – it doesn’t matter who is with you, just as long as someone is.
There you have it, a guide to the steps to take when letting an employee go. Firing someone is never nice, but sometimes, for the good of your business, it has to be done.