How to Prepare to Let Go of an Employee

Firing someone from the team is no easy task. In fact, you may be spending all week pondering if it's the right decision and when you should do it. Should you do it first thing in the morning or at the end of the day? Should you do it on a Monday, during the middle of the week, or on a Friday? Although everyone has their own way of doing things, here are some tips to consider when preparing to fire someone the "right" way.

First and foremost, review their performance and analyze how many times you've talked to them about the issue, if they've made an effort to change, and if letting them go is the ultimate solution. Try not to act on impulse and review their behavior before making a final decision. If you notice that a corrective action plan has been given one too many times then maybe it's time to do something about it. 

You also want to make sure that you let them know they are being let go as nicely as possible. You don't want to aggressively tell someone they are fired. Be sensitive to the situation and refrain from firing them in front of others in the office. Do it privately in an office or in a space where their privacy is taken into consideration. None of us like to be humiliated in front of others. 

Although we tend to think of ourselves as free of fault, truth is being a leader can be hard. Reflect on your position as the head of the office and if you really did all that you could in order to provide the right leadership advice to that person. Could you have told them to do things differently which might have helped them improve at work? Did you really exhaust your leadership skills on building a good employee? Did you orient them when they fell off track?

In regards to what time of the day or what day of the week you should fire an employee, it all depends on the way you run your business. Decide what you think is best. You might want to fire them at the end of the week so they can use the weekend to start looking for a new job. You may also want to do it as soon as possible and pick the beginning of the week so they can spend the week job hunting. There really is no right or wrong day, firing someone is difficult no matter what so choose what you feel is best. 

If you're downsizing your team due to budget cuts or because you're closing down your business, try to give them as much support as you can. Offer to provide them with a letter of recommendation, let them know they can use you as a reference, and offer anything else you feel comfortable with in order to help them transition to a new job. It may not be their fault you have decided to close or cut down on employees and they may need help getting back in the field.