Dismissal should be the last resort. It is smart and cost-effective to try to improve performance and for legal protection. Have a paper trail documenting your efforts, with written report of what was discussed at each meeting with each employee and have his or her sign. Set deadlines for next reviews and keep it in the employee’s personnel file.
These days, with daily headlines about layoffs many managers are so busy with their own discomfort that they often overlook the pain they’re inflicting with dismissals. Do not underestimate the personal nature of firing. People remember every detail for the rest of their lives.
Whatever maybe your reason, it has very little bearing on how to break the news and you definitely want to be respectful while terminating an employee.
Bite your tongue not to say the following.
Do not try to pretend that it is an ordinary exchange by saying, ‘How’s the family?’, ‘Nice hair-do’, etc. There should be no small talk at this meeting.
Make the meeting a short maybe for ten minutes. Be crisp, get to the point, and be professional. Have the last check and any vacation balance check ready. Be clear and say, ‘We’ve made the decision and this is your last day’. Do not justify your decision for termination to that employee. remember you are taking away a person’s job. don’t rob him of his dignity as well.
termination should not come as a surprise to any employee. If it is performance issue, attendance or anything for that matter he or she should have already got a warning or a chance to improve on the employee’s part. This meeting certainly should not blindside an employee. Also, have a witness in case it ends in dismissal and a legal hearing.
Do not say, “I know how you feel.” Because you don’t . You have the job; you will get your paycheck. This person is losing it, and might have family commitments and all the ‘what if’s are running in his mind, not to mention the humiliation that he experiences. You’re definitely hurting someone. You may think you’re sympathizing but in reality your comment rubs salt in the wound. On the contrary by shutting down your emotions assuming it’s businesslike, you are translating as cold and uncaring. This is one of those situation when your head and heart needs to be balanced.
‘Let me know how I can help’. Managers rarely mean this. Unless you have a recommendation letter for this employee, do not say this.
Finally, There is no perfect time for firing someone but firing someone first thing in the morning is never done for the sake of an employee.