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Hey Kareen, how do I terminate employment properly?

Aug 18, 2023

Firing someone who is not performing their best or is no longer aligned with the skills and expertise you need is one of the hardest things to do as an owner or leader in your business. It is not to be taken lightly. Have the right tool kit to ensure you are ready to terminate employment or a contract is key to making this part of your operation less overwhelming. 

Firing an employee is a challenging and sensitive process that should be approached with care and professionalism. Here are the top five steps to ensure you are prepared to fire someone:

  1. Review and Document Performance Issues: Before taking any action, thoroughly review the employee's performance records, including feedback, evaluations, and any documented performance issues. Ensure that the reasons for termination are clear, well-documented, and supported by evidence.
  2. Consult HR and Legal: It's crucial to involve your Human Resources (HR) department and legal counsel to ensure that you are following all relevant labor laws, regulations, and company policies. This step helps mitigate potential legal risks and ensures a fair process. If you are a small business and do not have an HR department - you can hire ad hoc services to assist you to ensure you are complying with legal ways to terminate employment. 
  3. Create a Termination Plan: Develop a clear and detailed plan for the termination process. Consider factors such as timing, location, who should be present (HR representative, supervisor), and how to communicate the news. Having a well-thought-out plan helps minimize confusion and stress during the actual termination meeting.
  4. Prepare for the Meeting: Conduct the termination meeting in a private and neutral location to protect the employee's privacy. Be direct, honest, and empathetic in your communication. Prepare a script that outlines the reasons for termination, the next steps (e.g., final paycheck, benefits), and any support you can offer, such as outplacement services or references.
  5. Provide Support: Even though the purpose of the meeting is to terminate the employee, show empathy and offer support during this difficult time. Allow the employee to ask questions and express their feelings. Provide information about resources they can access, such as career counseling, job search assistance, or access to their employee assistance program (EAP).

Remember, the goal is to conduct the termination respectfully and professionally, while also minimizing the impact on the departing employee and the remaining team members. It's essential to treat the employee with dignity and respect, even during this challenging process.

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