12 Ways You Can Prepare for Letting an Employee Go – And What Comes Next

prepare to fire someone

It’s never easy to let an employee go, especially if they’ve been a loyal member of your team. Firing someone is sometimes unavoidable, though, so if you find yourself in this situation, you need to be prepared to handle it correctly. To help guide you, members of Young Entrepreneur Council were asked the following question:

“In the event you need to let an employee go, what is the best way to prepare — and what crucial step should follow after the meeting?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Outline What You’re Going to Say

“Letting an employee go can be gut-wrenching. To help prepare, I outline my conversation prior and include the specific incidents that lead to my decision. It helps me take the emotion out of the conversation and keeps me focused on the issues that led to the termination. A defined conversation also benefits the employee as the reasoning is clear and concise which helps give everyone closure.” ~ Amanda ElmsMetis Genetics, LLC

2. Go Through the Proper Channels

“Before terminating an employee, review all of the documentation you have saved about the person and their work performance. Then give that information to the department that handles hiring and firing to make sure it supports your case and your cause for firing. After the person is let go, make sure to discuss it with other colleagues, but do not go into specifics.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

3. Document the Entire Experience

“It’s important that you document the entire process for employee termination or layoffs on paper, including the steps taken, the reasons, and evidence and follow-up related to what the employee noted during the experience. Unfortunately, some choose to take legal action, so it’s important to document everything.” ~ Angela RuthCalendar

4. Plan for Professionalism and Dignity

“Letting an employee go doesn’t have to involve screaming. Often if you need to let someone go, you will know for months ahead of time. Document all of your reasons. Give them ample opportunity to change. Then write them that you need to meet with them, and try to keep the tone of the meeting dignified and quiet. Plan for dignity and professionalism and you will get through the moment well.” ~ Chris Quiocho, Offland Media

5. Put Emotions Aside

“Letting go of an employee could be tough. Especially when you get close to them on a personal level. However, if an employee no longer meets your standards to the business, it is best to let them go. Putting your emotions aside is one of the most crucial steps to prepare before and after the meeting. Be thorough with it and document the interaction for legal purposes.” ~ Fritz ColcolSimply Thalia

6. Be Succinct and Be Kind

“Letting someone go, even when it is for cause, is never easy. The person sitting across the table from you will have to return home and explain what has happened to loved ones. Be specific, be clear, be succinct and be kind. Tell the employee why they are being let go, what they can expect in terms of final pay and benefits, and help them to exit gracefully.” ~ Vanessa NornbergMetal Mafia

7. Give Them Transitioning Tools

“Sometimes you hire good people that just aren’t a good fit for the position. If that’s the case, think of ways that you can help them with their transition. Perhaps you can give them free tools to help them with their resume and a couple months of free online courses to give them a leg up during their job search.” ~ Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

8. Revoke Access to Accounts Immediately After the Meeting

“Before letting an employee go, carefully document the rationale behind the decision and consult an employment lawyer. After the meeting, immediately revoke the ex-employee’s access to company social media accounts, servers, online services such as Google Drive, and all other infrastructure. With feelings running high, a disgruntled employee can do a lot of damage in a short time.” ~ Vik PatelFuture Hosting

9. Communicate With Your Team

“When letting an employee go, the best way to prepare for the before and after stages is to keep morale high around the office. If someone is let go from the company, failing to clearly communicate with the rest of your team can cause motivation to drop and anxiety to rise if your team begins to think that they are expendable. Make sure they are aware of their value and job security.” ~ Bryce WelkerAccounting Institute for Success

10. Fill the Position Quickly

“Assuming you’ve made your intentions clear to those who might question your decision to let an employee go, and you received the OK to follow through, you need to ensure you either have a replacement ready to go or you’re just about ready to hire someone new. Leaving too much time between letting an employee go and hiring a new one can increase the team’s workload and stress in the office.” ~ Reuben YonatanGetVoIP

11. Make the Transition Orderly

“Whenever I have to fire a software developer due to bad performance, I make sure I have my other developers get the knowledge transfer from them and also make sure I have hired a replacement. This makes sure there is no gap in the work. I also serve a notice period so that the employee is not surprised and have enough time to look for a job. ” ~ Piyush JainSIMpalm

12. Learn From the Experience

“Firing someone is just one of those things you can’t truly understand until you actually have to do it. It’s something you’ll need practice with to get “better” at so that you can help all parties involved have a decent experience. Once you’ve learned how and when firing is necessary, you’ll be exponentially better at hiring and managing.” ~ Roger LeeHuman Interest 401(k)

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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