It’s never easy to fire an employee at your business – even if the decision has been a long time coming and doing so is the right decision for the state of your business. So, you have that difficult meeting and go about your day. Now what? If you’re smart, you’ll pay careful attention to how to approach this situation with your remaining employees.
As always, we have some tips:
Don’t pretend like nothing happened. John in Accounting was here this morning and now his desk is empty. Your employees aren’t stupid – it’s pretty clear he wasn’t abducted by aliens. Like it or not, they are going to start talking. Unless you acknowledge that it happened, you are going to look like a liar and a wimp and your employees are going to worry themselves sick wondering who’s next. No one wants that.
Be straightforward. Don’t beat around the bush and don’t make up explanations like “John wanted to explore opportunities elsewhere.” Everyone knows this isn’t true. Be honest without getting into the gory details. “John wasn’t meeting department expectations” would do the trick.
Be kind. Remember that John Doe in Accounting is a person. And, he’s likely friends with some of your remaining employees. Don’t bad mouth him around the office after he’s gone, even if the things you are saying are true.
Don’t dwell on it. Yes, any time you let someone go you should address it. But, don’t spend so long talking about it and dwelling on it that your business comes to a standstill. After all, there’s still work to do – and now you’re got one less employee.
How do you handle firing employees at your small business?