The art of terminating employees the appropriate way.

No matter how we try to sugar coat it, there is no pleasant way to fire an employee. However, you can’t afford to waste your time, money and effort by keeping bad performers around. While termination is a necessary part of any business setting, there are certainly right and wrong ways to go about letting someone go. Getting it wrong might cause heartache for the both of you, or worse, you may end up in court! So how can you fire an employee with minimum damage while keeping their ego intact? Akhtaboot presents you with some useful strategies to follow when terminating an employee is the only choice you have left.


There should always be an open dialogue between you and your employees from the very start. You should outline your performance expectations and make sure that your entire team understands their job description really well. If an employee is performing poorly, don’t hesitate to bring it to his attention before it’s too late. Keep in mind that poor performers can be turned to company superstars with the right motivation tools and mentorship style. Have a clear warning system in place that gives your employees multiple chances before the final cut is made.

Treat People Fairly 

Since you are not perfect, an employee who does a mistake deserves a second chance. Find out the reason behind it and explain to him what he should have done differently to get a better outcome. Never make decisions based on your emotions rather than facts. You can’t fire people based on personal clashes that has nothing to do with the actual job. It has to be about the impact on the organization, accountability and getting the job done. Your firing decisions should always be fact-based.

Be Honest and Firm

If after several warnings and second changes you decided that firing an employee is in the best of the company, remember to be honest, firm and always back up your speech with performance related facts. Get straight to the point and don’t label the employee himself, but the actions he or she has committed. Keep in mind that you should also allow the employee to vent. Listen to him, help him out and give him some useful advice. After all, he was one of your employees and you don’t want to have someone out there badmouthing your company.

Make it a Learning Experience for the Employee

Make sure that the terminated employee understands that any experience, is a learning experience. Pinpoint exactly what he did or didn’t do that led him to this point. Talk about what he can do differently in the future to improve his job. Offer to help your terminated employee with finding another job that fits his skills and strengths.

It’s a Learning Experience for YOU

The success of your company depends on its people. It all starts with hiring better! If the company’s turnover rate is high, something wrong is going on for sure. It’s either that the Human Resources department isn’t doing a good job, employees are not well informed about what is expected of them, or you are just not hiring the right people in the right positions! Successful recruitment is never an easy task; you should have a clear idea of what you need exactly in an employee and look for successful patterns that have worked in the past to guide you through. Super performers are out there, but just as in the old days, you may need to do some detective work and actively seek out the people who will turn your company from good to great.