A First-Time Manager’s Guide To Letting Employees Go

Posted 3 years ago •

Letting an employee go is definitely at the top of a manager’s list of difficult responsibilities and although it will never be an easy task, there are a few simple steps to make the process less daunting and as smooth as possible.



No surprises

If an employee hasn’t been meeting expectations for some time, as a manager it is your responsibility to provide feedback on their performance at the time, help them identify their blind spots and coach them on how to improve. Often when employees become self-aware their performance and attitude significantly improves. Just remember, if it is the end of the road this shouldn’t come as a surprise to your employee!


Practice your speech

Chances are your employee will be in a heightened emotional state so be sure to practice what you plan to say to them ahead of time to avoid rambling and dragging out the conversation. It’s also important to prepare all the necessary documentation to make the process as smooth as possible.


Focus on facts

Letting someone go can be a distressing time for the employee, so it’s important to be kind and considerate of their feelings and one way to do this is to focus on the facts. Relay specific incidents and provide clear reasons as to why their employment is being terminated - avoid getting personal at all costs!


Choose a time and a place

Plan the time and place beforehand - a Friday morning isn’t going to go down well. Although there is never a perfect time, you can choose a place that is private and a time that will least impact the business, for example before the working day starts.


Don’t do it alone

As a first-time manager this will be a new experience for you, so arrange for a member of your HR department or your manager to be a supporter and witness. Remember that someone should be with your former employee when they collect their personal things and they should be escorted off the premise.


Leave on a good note

There can be multiple reasons why you’re letting an employee go, for example if the company is downsizing, you may want to reconnect with your employee at a later date to interview them so it’s important to thank them for their positive contributions. If you’re firing your employee because of their actions, it’s important to be calm at all times because chances are they will be gutted about the situation already.


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