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How to make firing easier on everyone

The termination process is difficult for a manager, as well as the staffer being fired. These three steps won’t alleviate all the pain, but they will make the process easier for all concerned.

1 Do it Friday

While some human resources experts say firing is best done in the middle of the week, most recommend doing it on Friday afternoon. This time is best for the office because it lessens the possibility that the person will set up a support group in the hours immediately following. It also eliminates the possibility that the person will stay around and damage office data.

In addition, it is best for the staffer because there’s not the embarrassment of having to clean out the desk in front of the other employees. Moreover, Friday gives the person the weekend to recover emotionally and plan what to do Monday morning.

2 Make it short

Keep the meeting to no more than 15 minutes. Here is what to say:

“Please come in. We need to talk. As you know, we’ve talked on several occasions, particularly A, B, and C. But we haven’t seen a change in your performance, and we believe it is in your best interest and in the office’s best interest that you seek employment elsewhere. We regret this did not work out. You have strengths that will work well for you in a different setting, but they don’t fit this setting.”

If necessary, add: “This should not come as a surprise to you. We have talked to you about this on (date) and (date).”

Don’t say, “I’m sorry.” It is not the manager’s fault. It is the employee who has caused the termination.

Tell what will happen with the final pay check. But keep the rest of the information short, because the staffer likely won’t remember all that is said. Say that the office will send the paperwork about benefits in the mail and when you get it, give me a call and we will discuss it.”

As soon as the conversation ends, escort the person out of the office.

3 Provide severance pay

The kindest approach is to give a severance allowance. The standard amount is two weeks’ pay, but after several years’ employment it can be 30 days’ pay. Severance pay can make a significant difference in how someone copes with being fired. It means the person doesn’t have to face Monday morning with no money. And it means the person has two weeks or more to look for another job and still be able to say, “I am employed.”

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