The right way to fire someone
Have you ever fired anyone? If you’ve never done it before, you might want to do some research on how to approach the situation and implement your decision. No one likes doing it, but it’s a fact of life in business, and if your team’s performance is suffering because a particular member is unable to improve, you have to take steps for the overall benefit of the company.
So, what do you say and what’s the best way to do it? Should Human Resources (HR) be in the room with you? When and how do you tell the rest of your team? Is there union involvement and what are their policies? It’s not easy, but here are some tips to help you get through:
1. First of all, firing is the last step in a process of helping that employee see what he/she needs to do to improve his/her performance. It shouldn’t be a surprise: there should always be regular feedback with all employees regarding their performance, goals and expectations.
2. Sometimes, feedback isn’t enough. Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s termination policies and any formal union requirements as well as alert HR that there’s a problem. You’ll need to devise an improvement plan for this employee to get back on track and monitor his/her progress on a scheduled basis. Focus on the facts and be sure to document everything in writing. You also need to make it clear to the employee what the consequences are if they are unable to improve.
3. If you’ve come to the end of the improvement plan period and the issue isn’t resolved, it’s time to talk about termination. At this point, you need to involve your HR Department, so arrange for a private meeting with the employee, HR, you and your manager, if needed.
4. Keep it short. No need to list every infraction and go over all the ways they’ve failed to make improvements. It’s best to be clear about your reasons and firm in your decision. Don’t get caught up in arguing the point or making any excuses.
5. Stay calm and be empathetic. Be specific in explaining why the employee is being terminated and review the steps you’ve already taken to avoid firing him/her. Thank him/her for whatever positive efforts they’ve made (if any), and avoid humiliating him/her in front of other staff members by keeping the meeting private and allowing for a quiet exit.
6. Practice. It can help to think through the process and what you plan to say at the meeting. You may even want to make a list of points to cover and refer to it in the meeting. It also may help in the future to identify if there is a pattern of firing in a particular department or if your system of evaluating candidates may need to be reviewed. This is possibly a good time for an assessment that may yield better results in the future.
7. Don’t make it personal and try not to take it home with you. Firing is a difficult task and no one likes doing it. However, the ultimate responsibility lies with the employee and sometimes moving on is the best thing for all involved. Keeping someone in a position in which they are unable to perform is distressing for everyone, including the employee. Sometimes you’re doing them a favor by helping them move on to a position where they can be successful.
8. Tell the team soon after the person leaves (as long as it doesn’t disrupt the workflow of the day). Stick to the facts and deliver the news that this employee is no longer with the hotel (best not to say the word “fired”). Be calm and keep it short… no need to criticize or make comments. If anyone has concerns, they can speak with you privately, but of course, you will be unable to share any personal information.