Sacking an employee – for whatever reason - can be an unpleasant experience, both for the employee and the employer. At the same time, it is a harsh reality of modern-day business that cannot be avoided. The best that you, as an entrepreneur, can do in such cases is to make the process as much simple and easy on the employee as possible.
Inc.com lays down certain must-dos while firing an employee.
Be entirely sure
Be absolutely certain that you need to lay off the employee in question. It is always better not to decide in the heat of the moment, and sleep over it.
Even though an employee is being sacked for non-compliance to company rules or lack of efficiency or performance, do take the time to sit down and clearly analyse whether he/she really deserves the lay-off. Can the sacking be avoided in any way? Is there anything at all that can be done to salvage the situation and retain the employee?
Give enough chances
In case an employee’s performance has been found lacking, give him/her a fair number of chances to improve. Keep a detailed written record of these steps.
If a thorough due diligence policy has been followed, the employee probably already knows that he/she has been given a reasonable number of chances and that, as a last resort, he/she needs to be laid off.
Be very clear about things like – What would be the employee’s last working date? How will he receive his last salary? What kind of severance package would be given to him/her? How will the company collect the employee’s ID and other official property?
If required, take the help of an HR professional with these decisions.
Have a back-up
Have someone else from the senior management sit with you in the room while you announce your decision to the employee. It is always better to have a witness in such cases, so that the employee does not later quote you as saying words that you never did.
This could be a tad uncomfortable for the employee, but it is always a good practice for the company.
Keep it simple and genuine
Explain your reasons for the termination in clear and simple terms to the employee. Be genuine, and do not overdo it.
Do not make the employee lose even more of his/her dignity by saying harsh things at this stage.
Do not argue.
The employee might question your judgement, and that is only natural. Be prepared for it.
Do not argue with the employee and try to show him/her the fairness of your decision. Make it clear to the employee that the decision has already been taken and is irrevocable.
Don't make promises you can’t keep
Do not make unrealistic promises to the employee, which might be difficult for you to keep. You might have the best interests of the employee at heart, but make sure that you promise him/her only what you can really stick to.
Don’t forget to wish the employee the best of luck.
It is but natural to feel sad after sacking an employee. Accept it as an inevitable part of business, and that you did the best thing for your company.