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How to Fire an Employee Cheat Sheet by

How to Fire an Employee
resources     human     employee     firing


Learning how to terminate an employee is just as important as hiring great employees. Not knowing how to fire someone properly can quickly land your company in an expensive legal minefield. Firing an employee is a difficult and sensitive process that every company has to perform at some point regardless of how great their hiring process is.

Steps 1 - 4

1. Revisit perfor­mance reviews.
Have you given them positive reviews recently? In cases of a severe infrac­tion, this may not be a problem. If you’ve got a documented paper trail of warnings skip to step 3. Need a form? We've got a downlo­adable, printable employee evaluation form, and an employee write up form.

2. Document issues, and make the employee aware of them.
If you’re consid­ering firing them for perfor­mance, start docume­nting problems and pointing them out to the employee when they happen. Firing employees is much easier when you have a system of properly docume­nting issues and notifying employees when they occur.

3. Schedule another review.
Arrange a meeting to review their perfor­mance as soon as possible, and talk to them about exactly what the issues are and how they can fix them.

Give them a probation period during which they must fix the problems, and let them know that termin­ation is a possible outcome. Be sure to file detailed notes on the review.

4. Check in with the employee during their probation period.
As the deadline approa­ches, check in with the employee and let them know where they stand. If they’re headed for termin­ation, you don’t want it to be a surprise. They should know exactly where they are falling short, and what it means to their job.

Step 5 -8

5. Don’t procra­stinate when it comes to firing.
If you get to the end of the probation period and the employee hasn’t met the standards, terminate as soon as possible. Don’t let a week drag by with everyone wondering what’s going to happen. Fire them early in the week, preferably on a Monday. Deciding what to say when termin­ating an employee during probation period is simpler as the probation period exists to make firing new employees easier.

6. Keep the termin­ation meeting short, stick to the facts, be clear and firm.
At the termin­ation meeting, don’t fall into blame or arguing. State clearly that they “have been termin­ated” using the past tense. Don’t leave room for negoti­ation. Have someone from HR or another manager present as a witness.

Explain clearly what their next steps are - when they’re expected to leave, what further benefits or severance they’re entitled to, how to handle company property, etc. Provide a termin­ation letter that also spells out these steps.

7. Incent­ivize them to sign a release.
To help your company avoid lawsuits, it may be wise to offer an incentive, such as increased severance pay, if the employee signs a release of claims form that essent­ially releases the company from any liability. At many companies, it is required that terminated employees sign a release before receiving their severance package.

8. Have them leave the premises immedi­ate­ly.
Give the employee a chance to get their things, but have them escorted as they do so. This should be done immedi­ately after firing. The idea is to reduce any temptation for them to damage the company while they’re upset. Keep security in mind during this phase. Have any keys, badges and credit cards returned and change computer passwords.

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