Over 40% of Americans1https://www.zippia.com/advice/what-percentage-of-people-are-fired/#:~:text=40%25%20of%20people%20are%20fired%20from%20a%20job%20in%20their%20lifetime.&text=But%20the%20percentage%20of%20people,been%20fired%20from%20a%20job. have been fired from a job, and firing an employee can cost a company up to 200%2https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/firing-workers-might-cost-them-more-keeping-them-during-coronavirus-146262 of their pay! Letting go of staff is never easy, but doing so kindly can save a lot of headaches and money. While this can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be damaging for either party involved. In fact, if done correctly, the termination can actually be beneficial for both parties as they move on with their careers.
Here is a step-by-step guide to employee termination and 7 practical communication tips to fire someone nicely.
Why Is It Important to Fire Someone Nicely?
It’s important to fire someone nicely because it’s the right thing to do. You want your employees to know when they’re not working out, but you also don’t want them to feel attacked or embarrassed by your words or actions.
Firing someone is never an enjoyable experience for anyone involved, so it’s best if everyone can feel respected and understood throughout the process. Treating them with dignity and respect, even while delivering difficult news, can lead to profound personal growth for both parties. Instead of going about it like this…
Here are some reasons to approach this process with sensitivity, preparation, and kindness:
- Uphold your moral values: If you value compassion, honesty, empathy, and respect, then firing someone nicely is the most obvious way to act
- Alignment with your morals. A rude or insensitive employee termination could not only harm the dismissed employee, but it could lead to remorse and cognitive dissonance in your own psyche.
- Avoid legal issues: In the U.S., the average settlement in a wrongful termination lawsuit is $5,000 to $40,0003https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/wrongful-termination-claims-how-much-can-i-expect-in-compensation-and-what-will-a-lawyer-cost.html. A respectful and thoroughly documented firing process is crucial for avoiding legal issues.
- Protect your reputation: If an employee feels like they’ve been treated unfairly, their first instinct may be revenge rather than forgiveness (and maybe even justice). Not only will this make life harder for everyone involved right now—it could also hurt future job prospects down the road if word gets around about how poorly this person was treated at your company. For example, if you fired someone for poor work ethic but they felt that they never got the training they needed, others in the industry may hesitate to apply for a position at your company due to rumors about a negative onboarding process.
- Aid professional development: Sometimes rejection is redirection. If you fire an employee in a nice and respectful way, you may actually aid them in discovering a more aligned career for their skills and goals. Genuine coaching and post-firing assistance (described more below) can help put a terminated employee on the right track to a job where they can excel.
- Improve your communication skills: Compassionate firing can actually make you a better manager and communicator. It’s easy to deliver good news, but the best leaders have mastered the art of sharing bad news by combining honesty, directness, active listening, and ongoing support.
How to Terminate an Employee With Compassion: Step-by-Step Guide
Before initiating the termination process, ensure that you have a clear understanding of the situation, relevant policies, and any documentation or evidence related to the employee’s performance or conduct issues. It’s important to be well-prepared for the conversation.
Here is how to approach the process with grace and compassion:
- Clarify why you are terminating the employee
First, make sure you know what you want to achieve from the termination. If it’s because of performance issues or poor attitude, then make sure that’s clear so there is no confusion about why the employee is being let go.
Go over the reasons for termination with your boss or upper management to ensure everyone is on the same page. If you run a small business, you may wish to consult your legal advisor or mentor before initiating the firing process.
Here are some examples of appropriate versus inappropriate reasons for firing:
|Acceptable Reasons for Firing an Employee||Inappropriate Reasons for Firing an Employee|
|Poor work performance||Unique work style|
|Excessive absenteeism (missing work)||Illness or injury|
|Violating company policies||They asked for a raise|
|Misuse of company property||Accidentally broke company equipment|
|Bad cultural fit||Cultural or political differences|
|Disrespectful behavior||Expressing an issue with management|
|Harassment or discrimination against others||Disliking their personality|
|Drug use or illegal activity||Rumors of behavior outside of work (without evidence or relevance to the company)|
- Understand employee rights and company procedures
Next, be sure you understand the employee’s rights and follow those procedures accordingly. For example, there may be different specifications for someone who was recently hired versus someone who has been with your company for over 6 months. Refer to official handbooks on your company policy and ask HR for assistance when needed.
Should you give advanced notice to someone who is getting fired? According to the Fair Labor Standards Act4https://webapps.dol.gov/dolfaq/go-dol-faq.asp?faqid=328&theagencyid=ESA-WHD&faqtop=Agencies+%26+Offices#:~:text=Answer%3A%20The%20Fair%20Labor%20Standards,mass%20layoffs%20or%20plant%20closure., companies are not required to give advanced notice of termination. However, some instances require employers to inform employees in advance of mass lay-offs or other extenuating circumstances.
In a standard firing scenario, the decision is up to you. If you have a relationship with the employee and genuinely wish the best for them, you might want to give them a week or more to search for a job before you let them go.
- Prepare the necessary documentation
When terminating an employee, it’s essential to have the necessary documentation to support your decision and protect the interests of both the employee and the organization. While the specific documentation may vary based on the circumstances and applicable laws, here are some common documents to consider:
- Termination letter: This is an official document written per your state and company requirements. It includes business information, employee name, the reasons for termination, and the effective date of termination. Keep a copy of the signed termination letter in the employee’s file.
- Disciplinary records and written warnings: If the employee has been subject to disciplinary actions, document those instances and any related warnings, reprimands, or written notices. Also include any documentation of an employee’s involvement in workplace incidents, accidents, or violations.
- Performance evaluations: Gather any performance evaluations or performance improvement plans (PIPs) that document the employee’s performance issues or shortcomings. This can help support your decision if the termination is due to performance-related reasons.
- Termination or severance agreement: If there is a severance package included in the dismissal, be sure you have a signed and dated agreement that outlines the details.
- Unemployment information: Provide the employee with information on how to apply for unemployment benefits. Share details about the unemployment insurance program in your state, including the application process, eligibility criteria, and required documentation.
- Final paycheck: Clearly communicate the date of the employee’s final paycheck and explain any deductions or adjustments that may be made, such as unpaid leave, outstanding loans, or taxes. Include information on how the final paycheck will be delivered (e.g., direct deposit or physical check) and provide details on any additional compensation, such as payment for unused vacation or sick leave, if applicable.
- Schedule the meeting at the right time
Provide advance notice of the meeting so the employee can prepare themselves mentally and emotionally. Select a time when both you and the employee can have sufficient time for the meeting without rushing or being interrupted. Additionally…
- Don’t fire someone before important deadlines, or they probably won’t feel motivated to complete their remaining tasks.
- Don’t fire someone on their first day of work (unless they’ve really made a big mistake). You’re still getting to know each other, so there’s no need for any awkwardness or tension yet!
- Don’t fire someone during the holidays. Try to avoid significant events like weddings/birthdays/graduations, especially if those events are coming up soon after being let go from your company. Sometimes this is out of your hands, but it is kind to consider.
- Don’t fire someone (or allude to their termination) in a public setting. This can be extremely embarrassing and socially harmful.
Try to perform termination meetings in person. If this is not possible, a video call is better than a phone call. Try to choose a time that will minimize the impact on the employee and other team members, such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon when they are not interacting with other staff members.
Ensure that you have allocated sufficient time for the meeting. According to legal attorneys5https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/terminate-tuesdays.aspx, a termination meeting should be around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the employee’s concerns and emotional response.
- Set up a private, comfortable meeting space
Find a private and neutral location where you can have an uninterrupted conversation. The space should be completely confidential. Avoid public spaces or busy areas where others could overhear the conversation.
A private office or meeting room is ideal. Windows, greenery, and pleasant decor can make the space more welcoming and calming during the delivery of difficult news.
- Create an outline
Like any effective meeting, you should prepare an outline of what you want to say and how long it will take. For example, a termination meeting outline could include:
- Opening and Introduction (1-2 minutes): Start the meeting by greeting the employee and expressing your appreciation for their time and contributions. Clearly state the purpose of the meeting, which is to discuss their employment status.
- Recap of performance issues and reasons for termination (3-5 minutes): Provide a brief summary of the performance or behavioral issues that have led to the decision to terminate their employment. Be specific and provide examples when discussing the concerns.
- Empathetic communication (3-5 minutes): Express empathy and understanding for the emotions the employee may be experiencing. Allow the employee to express their thoughts, feelings, or concerns related to the termination. Practice active listening and maintain an open, non-judgmental attitude. We have more tips on this below!
- Termination decision (1-2 minutes): Clearly communicate the decision to terminate the employee. Use clear and concise language, avoiding ambiguity or excessive details. State the effective date of termination.
- Explanation of next steps (3-5 minutes): Provide information about the logistical details of the termination process, such as return of company property, exit procedures, and any required paperwork. Explain any post-termination benefits, such as severance packages or assistance with job placement, if applicable. Discuss any non-disclosure or non-compete agreements that may be in effect. Explain how the final paycheck will be calculated, including any deductions or adjustments.
- Support and Resources (3-5 minutes): Offer support to the employee during their transition, such as providing references or offering career counseling services. Provide information about job placement assistance, outplacement services, or networking resources that may be available to them. Encourage the employee to ask questions or seek clarification about any aspect of the termination process.
- Conclusion (1-2 minutes): Summarize the key points discussed during the meeting. Reiterate the effective termination date and any immediate actions required from the employee. Express appreciation for the employee’s contributions and wish them well in their future endeavors.
Remember, this is just an example outline, and the specific content and order of discussion may vary depending on the circumstances and organizational policies. You should also have an idea of when exactly you’ll need the employee out of their office so that there is enough time for them to clean up any personal effects and get their things together before they leave. This can be especially important if they have access codes or keys that need returned right away.
- Rehearse what you want to say with these scripts
It is important to deliver the bad news with as much clarity, directness, and sensitivity as possible. Just like preparing for a speech, rehearsing in the mirror or on camera can be helpful in improving your delivery.
You can prepare a script with some words about why this decision was made but don’t get into too much detail unless asked directly by your employee. For example, you may say:
- “Over the past few months, we have had ongoing discussions regarding your performance. We have identified several areas where improvement was needed, including [specific performance or behavioral issues]. We have had conversations, provided feedback, and even implemented a performance improvement plan to support your development. However, despite these measures, we have not seen the consistent growth and improvement needed to meet the requirements of your role.”
- “Throughout your tenure with the company, we have noticed a consistent pattern of behavior that has become a concern. Specifically, there have been instances where your attitude and behavior have had a negative impact on the work environment and team dynamics. Despite our previous discussions and efforts to address the concerns, we have not seen any improvement. After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to terminate your employment with the company due to the impact it has had on team morale and overall work productivity.”
Avoid saying inflammatory or rude statements like, “Your work ethic has completely sucked, and you are not smart enough to have this position. We need to get rid of you immediately so we can hire someone better.”
Your script ensures that, by the end of the meeting, the employee knows where they stand instead of having unanswered questions later on down the line. Scripting also helps avoid any surprises later down the road when other people find out about what happened behind closed doors.
- Show empathy and active listening
When the day of termination comes, your preparation should help for a less painful discussion. Still, you never know how someone will react. Approach the conversation with the utmost empathy and listening skills. Understand that the termination news can be overwhelming for the employee. Allow them to express their feelings, frustrations, or concerns.
Use our tips later on in the article to display empathetic body language, tone, and active listening.
- Discuss the next steps
Once the bad news is on the table, leave some time to discuss information on the employee’s final paycheck, benefits, or any other relevant details related to their departure. Provide guidance on how they can handle their departure with dignity and professionalism. If applicable, discuss any severance package or assistance you can offer during the transition period.
- Offer support
Depending on the circumstances, provide information about outplacement services, career counseling, or job placement assistance. Offer to write a recommendation or provide references if appropriate. Show that you care about their future and want to support their transition. Maintain a respectful and professional relationship throughout the transition period and beyond.
- Communicate with your team
After the termination meeting, communicate the news to the remaining team members in a professional and respectful manner. Confidentiality and privacy are paramount, but you also need to disclose enough information to prevent workplace gossip.
For example, you could say:
- “I wanted to take a moment to address a recent development within our team. As you may already be aware, we made the difficult decision to terminate [Employee’s Name] ‘s employment with the company. Want to remind everyone that this is a confidential matter, and it’s important that we respect [Employee’s Name] ‘s privacy during this time. We should refrain from speculating or spreading rumors regarding the circumstances surrounding the termination.”
- “I want to provide an update regarding [Employee’s Name]. As you may already know, we have made the difficult decision to terminate their employment with the company. While it is inappropriate to discuss the specific details of the individual’s termination, I want to assure you that this decision was made after careful consideration and based on factors that significantly impacted their ability to fulfill their role effectively. Going forward, I want to remind everyone of the importance of maintaining confidentiality and respecting the privacy of our former colleague. It is important that we focus on our own roles and responsibilities while supporting one another during this time of transition.”
Provide any necessary instructions or information about how the team will move forward. Encourage team members to reach out with any concerns or questions they may have.
8 Communication Tips for Compassionate Employee Termination
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” Respectful communication and emotional intelligence are essential for a compassionate firing process. These effective communication techniques can soften the impact of the news.
- Keep it short and sweet
When you’re firing an employee, it’s important to keep things concise and to the point. You want to make sure that the person understands their rights and options, but no one wants to sit through a lecture on legal procedures when they’re being let go.
Chances are, the individual could feel a range of emotions after you break the news. You don’t want to hold them in a meeting for too long. A quick, direct explanation is best as long as it is kind and respectful. For example:
|Too Harsh and Direct (Do NOT Say This)||Kind, Clear, and Concise (Say This!)|
|“We’re firing you because you’re terrible at this job.”||“You were unable to meet the performance metrics we set in place, and we have not seen an improvement in the past 6 months, so we have to let you go.”|
|“You are a drag to work with, and the entire team hates you.”||“Negative attitudes and tardiness have severely dampened team morale and reduced our productivity. Unfortunately, we don’t think this highly collaborative position is right for you, and we have to terminate you.”|
|“Your organization skills are atrocious, and even a toddler could keep track of data better than this.”||“Due to your lack of organization, poor performance, and consistently missed deadlines, we have to let you go. This position requires intense organization and timeliness to achieve our profitability goals.”|
Most importantly, be as clear as possible. You want them to understand why they are being fired and what the next steps are. This clarity could potentially guide them to a more suitable position in the future.
“Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”—Brené Brown
- Express empathy
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their emotions. In a firing scenario, it is helpful to imagine yourself in a similar position. After all, your job is your livelihood. If you were on the opposite side of the table, you may feel upset, defensive, embarrassed, or even ashamed.
By expressing empathy, you humanize the interaction and help the other person feel like they aren’t completely alone. Highly empathetic people mirror others’ emotions and validate their experiences. For example, you can say:
- “I understand this is very difficult news to receive.”
- “It is completely valid to feel [shocked/angry/confused], and I would feel the same way. Is there anything I can do to help?”
- “I know this is hard to hear, but please keep in mind that I highly respect your capabilities and skills. This job does not define your value as a person, and I am confident you will find a much more suitable role that plays to your strengths.”
3. Look for similarities
In addition to validating someone’s experience, you can express empathy by sharing a similar experience. If you were once fired from a job that wasn’t a good fit, you may be able to offer a few words of wisdom or inspiration. For example:
- “Honestly, I was once fired from a job at a sales company I really liked, and it was one of the hardest moments of my life. But in the months after, I realized it was a huge blessing because I wasn’t actually a good fit for sales.”
- “Getting fired led me to a much more aligned career in digital marketing. All that to say, I understand what you’re going through, and I hope this can become a positive catalyst for you to find something more suitable to your skills and personality.”
The key here is to create a genuine sense of connection by relating to what they’re going through. If you’ve never been fired, don’t fake it. Also, be sure not to make it all about you.
4. Practice active listening
A termination meeting should be a two-way street. You want to listen as much as you speak. When the employee expresses their concerns, questions, or emotions, make sure you are actively listening to demonstrate your care and respect for them.
- Be fully present: Give your full attention to the speaker and maintain eye contact. Show that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
- Avoid distractions: Minimize distractions, such as checking your phone or looking around the room, as they can signal disinterest.
- Provide verbal and non-verbal cues: Use charismatic listening cues like nodding, saying “mm-hmm,” or providing brief verbal affirmations to indicate that you are actively engaged in the conversation.
- Maintain open posture: Receptive body posture includes facing the speaker directly and leaning slightly towards them. Avoid crossing your arms or angling your body toward the door like you want to escape.
- Mirror their body language: Subtly mirror the employee’s body language. For example, if they are sitting with crossed legs, you can adopt a similar posture. Mirroring can help establish rapport and make them feel more comfortable in spite of the negative news.
- Avoid interrupting: Active listening involves allowing the speaker to finish their thoughts without interruption. Avoid interjecting or finishing their sentences for them. Instead, maintain patience and wait for appropriate pauses to respond or ask clarifying questions.
- Summarize and ask questions: After the speaker has finished talking, summarize their main points to ensure you understood them correctly. Ask thoughtful questions to demonstrate your engagement and to encourage further discussion.
Firing someone is a challenging and potentially emotional experience for both parties. By actively listening, you demonstrate respect and empathy towards the employee, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings about the situation. Your body language can make a huge difference in setting the tone of the conversation.
5. Bolster their confidence with positive feedback
Getting fired can be a big blow to someone’s confidence. Constructive criticism and positive feedback are essential leadership skills to employ during tough conversations. Consider commenting on a few positive attributes to help lift them back up:
- “In the time I’ve worked with you, I have noticed you are incredibly talented at public speaking and team collaboration. I have no doubt in my mind that you will be able to leverage these skills in your job search. I’m glad to mention them on any reference calls.”
- “Maybe your personality isn’t great for customer service, but I know firsthand that you are excellent at planning, coordinating, and organization. Perhaps a role in project management or event planning would be more aligned with your skillset.”
- “I know it’s difficult to hear this news, but please don’t forget how incredible you are at creative innovation and project execution. I know those skills will be valuable assets to your next employer.”
Although you are firing someone, this interaction could actually be a tipping point for their career. Perhaps they are in the wrong role or wrong field, and a termination could set them on the right path. A genuine compliment on their work ethic, personality, or skills can boost their mood and help them move past the harsh reality of being fired.
It could even help them through Post Traumatic Growth: Move Forward When Bad Things Happen.
6. Use “I” statements more than “you” statements
When explaining the reasons for termination, notice how the examples above focus on facts rather than personal attacks. This is where your documentation and records can be useful, especially if you have had to write this employee up for violations or issues in the past.
Regardless of the reason for firing, you don’t want to make them feel personally insulted. The termination is about their performance in the specific role, not their value as a person.
When possible, use “I” statements instead of “you” statements when explaining why they need to leave the company. Be make sure those reasons aren’t personal! Stating, “I don’t think this position is a good match for your experience and work style,” will come across as less accusatory than saying something like, “You’re not good at what you do.”
If the employee has a difficult personality or demeanor, this freebie can help you learn how to cope with aggressive, narcissistic, or negative people in the workplace:
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7. Use relaxation techniques
Before firing someone, it is important to clear your mind and energy. Have you ever walked into a room where everyone was angry or on edge? Imagine an airport terminal where the plane is running late. The intense emotions of frustration and stress are contagious. That is not the vibe you want during a termination meeting!
An effective leader does their best to exude calmness and poise during difficult moments. This can help the employee feel more relaxed and accepting of the bad news. Before entering the meeting, take 5 minutes to relax yourself so you can communicate clearly and create a calm environment. Our favorite tactics include:
- Box breathing: Take a deep inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds at the top, then exhale for 5 seconds, and hold for 5 seconds at the bottom. Repeat 5-10 times to calm your nervous system.
- Neck rolls: Loosen up the tension in your neck by slowly rolling your head around in each direction 10 times. Combine this with other desk exercises and stretches to help relax your body and posture before the tough conversation.
- Do a mindfulness exercise: Science shows that mindfulness can make you kinder. Before you start the meeting, consider a short meditation, a calming walk outside, or a quick gratitude journaling exercise to tap into your empathy, compassion, and calmness.
8. Offer support and reassurance
The best way to end a termination meeting is with support and reassurance. Even though you are letting an employee go, you don’t want to leave them in the dust.
Consider helping them by:
- Offering to be a reference on their resume and comment on their positive attributes.
- Providing a contact or reference to a potential mentor or new employer.
- Writing a reference letter that they can use in their job search.
- Setting up a meeting to reevaluate their professional development goals and find a new role more aligned with their skill set.
- Suggest a company or role that may be better suited to their experience and skills.
- Offering a severance package or career transition assistance (such as resume writing or interview coaching sessions).
Pro Tip: You may be able to prevent future terminations by providing continuous feedback, supportive coaching, and regular performance reviews. To prevent the need for terminations, it is crucial to prioritize ongoing communication and address performance issues promptly. Set clear expectations, work collaboratively on improvement plans, and offer resources and training opportunities to support their growth. Here are 21 Employee Engagement Strategies Every Manager Must Try.
Template Script for a Respectful Employee Termination
Manager: Hi [Employee’s Name], thank you for meeting with me today. I wanted to discuss an important matter with you.
Employee: Sure, what’s it about?
Manager: I want to start by acknowledging your hard work and dedication to the company. Your contributions have been appreciated, and it’s important for me to share that before we move forward. However, after careful consideration and evaluation, I’ve unfortunately come to the difficult decision to terminate your employment with the company.
Employee: (Responds with shock or sadness)
Manager: I understand that this news might come as a surprise, and it’s completely normal to feel upset. Please know that this decision was not taken lightly, and it’s based on certain performance concerns that I must address.
Employee: Can you provide me with more details?
Manager (detailing reasons): Absolutely. To provide you with some examples, there have been instances where deadlines were missed, and the quality of your work has not met the standards set by the company. We have discussed these concerns before and provided support and coaching, but unfortunately, I have not seen the improvement I had hoped for.
Employee: I’m really disappointed to hear this. Is there anything I can do to change your decision?
Manager (expressing empathy): I understand your disappointment, and I appreciate your willingness to improve. However, based on the consistent performance concerns we have observed, we believe it is in the best interest of the company to proceed with the termination. I want to affirm that this decision does not define your worth as an individual, and it doesn’t diminish the value you have brought to the team.
Employee: What happens now?
Manager (assuring employee): I want to ensure you that we are committed to supporting you throughout this transition. We have resources available, such as outplacement services, that can assist you in finding new employment. Additionally, we can provide you with a reference and any necessary documentation to help you in your job search.
Employee: Thank you for letting me know about the resources. I’m still processing everything, but I appreciate your support.
Manager (expressing empathy): I understand that this news is difficult to accept, and I encourage you to take the time you need to process it. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Employee: Alright, I’ll do that. Thank you for being open and honest with me.
Manager (adding positive feedback): You’re welcome. It was important for me to approach this conversation with transparency and respect. Again, I want to emphasize that your contributions to the company have been valued, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Remember, this script is just a guide, and it’s crucial to adapt the language and tone to match the specific circumstances and individual needs of the employee.
How to Fire Someone Nicely FAQs
Before you fire someone, there are several things you should consider. First, make sure that the reason for termination is clear and legitimate. You should also make sure that all the facts are on your side and that there is no room for interpretation. If an employee has done something wrong, don’t let them off the hook easily; be firm about what happened and why it was unacceptable behavior (and not just a “bad day”). Finally, prepare all the paperwork before meeting with your employee so that everything goes smoothly during this difficult time.
There are a few common mistakes that managers make when they fire someone. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Not giving the employee enough notice: It’s important to give a reasonable amount of time for an employee to find another job or adjust their life plans, and it can be helpful to give them information about what is happening at the company. Hence, they know whether there are any opportunities for them there in the future.
Incomplete explanations: You need to be crystal clear on why you’re terminating someone’s employment and what happened during their performance review that led up to this decision (if possible). This helps avoid confusion and hurt feelings later on. Knowing where they stand will help them understand what went wrong and how they can improve next time around (or find another job more suited for their skills).
Harsh or derogatory comments: Avoid insulting an employee’s character or work ethic (e.g., “You’re a horrible manager,” or “You suck at talking to people and doing customer service.”) Instead, focus on non-accusatory remarks that highlight “I” statements, for example, “I think your introverted personality and independent work style would be better in a role that doesn’t interact directly with customers.”
Key Takeaways: Empathy, Kindness, and Clarity are Key to Respectful Termination
Firing someone is a difficult decision, and it can be even more difficult to do so in a way that’s respectful and compassionate. It’s important to remember that there are other people’s feelings at stake when firing someone, so do it with respect and dignity.
The best way to do this is:
- Have a plan before you fire someone (and stick with it).
- Be completely clear on the reasons for termination, documentation, and next steps.
- Create a script or template that you can rehearse.
- Use empathetic language to validate and relate to their emotional reaction.
- Practice active listening with open body language, leaning forward, nodding, and showing that you care.
- Offer support and resources whenever possible.
Is a previous employee having trouble moving forward after being fired? Perhaps you can offer condolence with tips about Post Traumatic Growth: Move Forward When Bad Things Happen.
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