9 Best Practices to Fire an Employee

There’s nothing fun about being the bearer of bad news or being on the other end receiving it.

Whether you are firing an employee or being fired, both are frightful. Having to fire an employee is probably the most difficult aspect of becoming a boss. However, as a manager and leader, such events come with the territory.

The process of firing someone is not easy. There are several legal elements to consider, and experts even suggest that practical and emotional aspects must be considered when breaking the news in such situations.

Jodi Glickman, the founder of the communication consulting firm “Great on the Job,” believes firing is a necessary evil. As a manager, you have to do what’s best for your organization and team members.

Although bad news will never be easy to convey, here are some hints on approaching the process when terminating an employee.

1 – Do It Face To Face

It’s undoubtedly unpleasant to fire anyone. Regardless of how intense the temptation to find the easier way out is, the only appropriate way to let an employee go is to have a face-to-face discussion.

It is unnecessary to confront the situation by emailing, texting on Slack, or even telling your assistant to do so.

You will pick up a lot of information on someone’s body language when delivering the news. Not just that, a face-to-face conversation is a gesture of respect and personal care.

It is best when delivered by the immediate boss rather than someone in HR that the employee has never communicated with.

Since the odds of the tone being lost in written communication are overcome, a face-to-face discussion would prevent future conflicts.

2 – Do It In Private

Firing an employee should still take place in secret, away from other workers’ ears. It’s uncomfortable enough to be fired; no one wants to add an audience to this situation.

As their leader, it’s your responsibility to treat them with dignity instead of humiliating them.

Dismissal isn’t just bad for the person; it’s also bad for the other workers. Other employees are maybe fearful whether or when they will be laid off.

Furthermore, your staff may have had prior relationships with the fired employee. If you decide to carry out this act anywhere, but in closed doors, you risk draining the other workers’ morale in your organization.

3 – Communicate Clearly

When it comes to terminating an employee, what you say and how you convey the news is critical.

Make sure you know why you’re firing your employee, that you have concrete examples, and that you have all of the appropriate documentation like copies of performance evaluations, write-ups, and financial forms, such as unemployment and health benefits. 

It’s important to remember that you don’t want to beat around the bush or be vague in such situations.

You must inform the employee that they will be fired indefinitely, effective immediately, and make it clear that your decision is final.

Allowing them too much leniency would only give them false hope. Be firm and clear when communicating the message to avoid any misunderstandings.


4 – The News Shouldn’t Come As a Surprise

Addressing employee concerns shouldn’t begin when you call them into your office to terminate them. It also shouldn’t be unexpected if a worker is fired for poor performance.

As a leader, you should have contacted the employee already, tried to resolve their challenges, and made valuable suggestions for improving their regular performance.

Experts recommend conducting regular employee reviews in areas that require improvement. You don’t have to be extremely structured, but it would encourage your workers to improve or reorient themselves. 

You want concrete, documented proof as to why they are being fired. Keep track of how they’ve fallen short of their responsibilities and issue verbal and written reminders.

You may even think of holding a final performance review before terminating the employee to make sure there is enough evidence to support your decision.

Some countries have “at-will employment,” which means that firms could fire employees for any legal reason.

It may be lawful, but often with no reason – especially when it comes to performance without feedback or no indication of doing something wrong – it’s not a great way to manage your workplace.

5 – Review Contracts & Documents

There might be a limited number of reasons to terminate one’s employment legally if an employee had signed the contract when you first hired them.

Before you start a layoff, double-check the documents and have your human resources department review them in advance.

6 – Be Ready To Explain Why

If an employee asks you why they are being terminated, be prepared with a gentle yet articulate answer.

You don’t want to be overly harsh with the employee, but you also need to express the impression that there are legitimate reasons for their dismissal.

Such communication can also be beneficial for them when working with other organizations and could encourage them to make the required changes.

7 – HR As A Witness

A leader must be mindful of anyone who isn’t performing as expected and understand why, whether it’s an entry-level recruit or someone more senior.

If you intend to terminate an employee, work with HR to create a plan that complies with the law and the company’s policies. An HR representative can be present to address an employee’s future at the company and provide moral and legal support.

They can share details regarding the soon-to-be-former employee’s final paycheck or policies regarding returning company property.

Experts suggested that a second person, preferably from Human Resources, should be present in the room and be able to be a witness to unexpected responses or assist the leader by answering the worker’s questions.


8 – Be Their Well-Wisher

Though the employee being terminated may have failed to play the role hired for, they are still people that are likely to continue in your line of work.

Be kind to the person you are dismissing, not just out of respect but also because it could benefit you in the future. The person you fire might become one that you hope to work with.

So ensure you maintain connections and wish them success in their future endeavors.

9 – Inform Their Team Members

Not only is it your responsibility to handle the aftermath after the employee is terminated, but it may also be deemed appropriate to warn employees that one of their colleagues has been let go in some cases.

You may, for example, mention that the workload will change or that new opportunities will become available.

Otherwise, in certain cases, when the terminated employee informs their colleagues about the incident, take necessary steps to ensure your staff can adjust their workloads and the routine isn’t interrupted.

However, don’t go into too much detail, or you’ll become the focus of a rumor. Maintain a professional demeanor during the firing process: before, during, and after.


 As we’ve already said, it’s not fun and never been an interesting task to do, but it’s necessary; atleast sometimes. Here in this article we tried to make thing streamline and documented for you, when you’re going to fire any of your employee.

If you want to add the value in this or would like to share your experiences, then please feel free to comment below.

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Varnika Bajaj

Varnika Bajaj

Content Writer

Varnika is the one who collate the words to form a sentence. A sentence which can engage you, entertain you and some time educate you.


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