Most managers consider termination their least favorite task. It's never easy to tell another person that he or she is being terminated from their current position. The termination process should be carefully planned and, in most cases, well documented. Following are a few tips to help make the difficult event of employee terminations a little easier:
- Have a witness present – The decision-maker and another management professional, preferably someone in HR, should be present for the meeting, and it should be discussed ahead of time who will do the talking and what will be said.
- Prepare documents in advance – Have documented reasons to terminate (e.g. write-ups, performance reviews, warnings, coaching/counseling contracts, and/or company policies). Also have the employee's final paycheck, benefits continuation forms, and any other required separation documentation to give to the employee. If your organization uses a Human Capital Management system, assembling the relevant history of performance reviews and disciplinary actions should be a relatively straightforward task.
- Meet in a private location and in person – If at all possible, termination meetings should be conducted in person at a private location where there will not be any interruptions. Meetings should also be scheduled as early in the day and week as possible.
- Remove emotion from the process – Avoid raising your voice during the conversation or getting upset or angry. Treat the employee with respect and give them the opportunity to gather their thoughts and say something if they want to. Keep the meeting short and to the point (10 – 15 minutes). There is no need to rehash the entire history or issues you have previously addressed.
- Collect personal and company property immediately – Company owned items such as computers, phones, keys, badges, and the like should be collected from the employee right away. Employees should also be allowed to collect personal items prior to exiting.
- Shut down the rumor mill before it starts – Employees in the organization should be informed of the staffing change as early as possible following the termination. Details and negative comments should not be communicated. Employees should be encouraged to ask questions and raise concerns to the appropriate person.