Once the documentation is in place (a critical element of any adverse action), the most difficult part of a termination decision takes place: letting the employee know he or she is being let go.
As uncomfortable as this process is, managers need to get it right. Otherwise, they can do things that leave the company open to legal problems. Here are the most common mistakes managers
make during terminations:
1. Losing their cool
Emotions often run high when an employee is let go, and it’s easy for managers to react in kind.
But that’s a mistake. Remind managers to let employees give their side of the story without interrupting to comment. Then, they should firmly but politely let the employee know the discussion is over, and the decision is final.
2. Being unprepared
The last thing a manager should do during a firing explanation is go off the cuff. Reason: Terminated employees will remember what the manager says in the worst possible light. Let managers know it’s a good idea to rehearse what they’re going to say during the meeting.
Also, remind managers to be on the lookout for topics they want to steer clear of. If the departing employee brings these topics up, managers should be prepared to cut off an unproductive back and forth.
3. Trying to soften the blow
It’s understandable to have compassion for the employee being fired, but managers get into trouble when they express that compassion the wrong way. Example: If any aspect of performance is complimented, the employee may have grounds to question the firing.