Sooner or later, most supervisors will have to fire somebody. You won’t necessarily be the only one involved, but you may be the point person.

Here are five steps you can take to make the termination go off smoothly and with the least amount of pain:

1. Do it in private, and not alone
Except in a dire emergency, don’t fire in public. Set up a meeting in a private setting – do so quickly if necessary – and make sure someone from HR, another supervisor or your own manager is there.

2. Tell the truth
Let the employee know clearly why he or she is being terminated. Evasions or circumlocutions could come back to haunt you if the employee takes legal action.

3. Allow for (some) venting
Most people being terminated will grow sad and/or angry. Respect and defuse their emotion by letting them talk, ask questions, and even challenge your decision – as long as you make clear that it isn’t going to change.

4. Claim what’s yours
Get the person to return all company property or tell you where it is.

5. Give departure choices
Now you need the person to leave the premises. But depending on circumstances, you might let them decide who will walk them out, and whether they’ll take their belongings now or come back for them after hours – under supervision, of course.

1 Comment

  • Glenfiddich205 says:

    I disagree with this totally on item #2.  Most, if not all employees are at will.  it is simply easier and less risk nto terminate simply by stating ” this is an at will termination”  Do not enter into any dialogue, or you may open up an opportunity for a law suit.  Terminating for cause (unless documented theft or documented clear violation of policy) is exteremly risky and can cost your firm $10,000 njust to engage a lawyer after they file a lawsuit. 

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