8 Steps on How to Fire Employees Nicely

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A woman in blue blouse and a woman wearing beige blouse talks on how to fire employees nicely

If you are to fire employees, it shouldn’t always be upsetting and even traumatic. Follow these steps on dismissing an employee for a graceful exit.

Eight Effective Steps on How to Fire Employees Nicely


1. Identify the basis for termination.

Though you can sack your workers anytime, you must still practice fairness and dismiss them lawfully. Cite valid causes when firing staff. You may refer to any gross misconduct offenses or severe policy violations. You may assess their performance, too, and check if they have been guilty of any habitual neglect of duties and willful disobedience.

2. Conduct a thorough probe.

Know the real story behind the employee’s poor attitude or performance. Don’t assume and prejudge. Gather proofs to help speed up the inquiry.

3. Assess employee’s records.

Trace the employee’s history and check if he has gotten into any untoward incidents. Old records, however, must not affect the inquiry on the latest case. The severity of the current offense may help produce sound judgment.

4. Create a plan and organize things.

Dismissal involves extra human resources (HR) tasks. The department needs to prepare the details on the employee’s benefits and last paycheck. Further, the HR staff must have a clear and detailed process on how the employee can collect personal stuff and return company properties.

Actual Firing

5. Issue a warning.

Because verbal and written warnings may not work for severe offenses, your HR staff must create and hand a document notifying his/her dismissal. Make the notice short, “sweet,” clear, and direct. State the grounds for dismissal and the results of the inquiry made.

6. Speak to the erring worker.

Come prepared during the final talk. Begin by saying, “We’re sorry, but we have to let you go.” Explain the reasons behind the move but avoid mentioning the details of the offense. Instead, discuss other things, such as benefits and final pay.

7. Listen.

Expect to hear many excuses from the “guilty” employee. As an employer, however, you must not challenge his/her views nor react badly. Stay calm while you assert that the decision is final.

8. Get a witness.

The purpose of getting a witness isn’t to justify the offense. With someone else inside the room, the company could avoid false claims. This may be awkward but it’s the best way to protect the company.

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