In This Episode

Most people’s only experience with firing someone is watching Donald Trump say “You’re fired” on the TV shows The Apprentice.  If you’re one of those people you may think it’s no big deal.  I mean the person is being terminated for a reason, right?

Even if there is a good reason it is still difficult in a small business because you likely know a lot about this person.  Chances are if they are a long-term employee they will feel almost like part of the family.  So you want to do it the right way and like many things you’re doing for the first time it can be hard to know if you’re doing it the right way or not.

During the show today we covered some of the nuts and bolts for terminating someone.  As you might imagine, a big part of the process is trying to take as much emotion out of it as possible.  Easier said than done.  We focus on a couple of key points:

  • What’s Best for the Organization: this is always a great question to ask when trying to make a tough decision in your business and you want to try to take as much emotion out of the decision as possible. In the case of terminating someone it helps to ensure you keep the other folks who are impacted in mind.  That includes everyone from your other employees to customers and vendors.  Will the termination of this employee make the organization better or worse?
  • Be Decisive: chances are if you’ve been thinking about it and talking about this person a lot, that’s a good sign that perhaps it’s time to cut ties. So make a decision and move forward.  It’s unlikely you’re going to have a successful reclamation project where whatever was driving you nuts about this person will suddenly go away.  The sooner you do it the better.
  • Be Brief: let the person know they are being terminated but don’t feel the need to go into great detail for why they are being terminated. Let them know the next steps in the process including things like paperwork you need them to sign, any potential severance package, outplacement services, etc.  The sooner their last day the better, no need for a 2-week notice.
  • Be Prepared: be ready to operate as if this person isn’t part of the business any more. If they are involved in key portions of the business (e.g. delivering your product/service, billing/collections, etc.) be sure someone else is ready to go so the process is relatively seamless from a day-to-day business standpoint.  Your key people should be made aware ahead of time before you terminate the employee.  Also be sure to have someone in the meeting with you aside from the person being terminated.  They don’t need to say anything, just be there as a witness and perhaps some moral support.

While it never gets easier to terminate someone, you will get better at it the more experience you get.  The most important part is that you’ll get better at recognizing when you need to move on from someone more quickly.

People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show