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Laurie Kahn

The Right Way to Fire People


Let’s face it, there is no kind way to let someone go, but there are definitely some wrong ways to go about letting go of staff, especially when you need to make changes with key people at the company. And, you may not think it does, but firing people incorrectly can hurt future recruitment at your company.

Ideally no one should ever be surprised when being let you. If there has been strong communication, all parties should be aware of the possibility, thus no surprise. In a perfect world, the managers and the employee should be communicating about what is expected, what goals are not being met, ideas on how to make the needed changes and what the consequences will be, should they fail to be met. Many may argue that during this period, both parties have given up on the other and are spending time either finding a new job or a new employee, which is not always the case. Often with guidance and communication, bad situations can be turned around.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you have a take-over or a major cut back where the firing has nothing to do with performance, it is important to handle this situation with the utmost care and respect, especially with those that have served the company well over the years. Keep in mind, if someone has been a visible part of your company, they will have many contacts and supporters who may not agree with the decision to part with them, but if these people are handled in a professional manner, it will soften the blow in addition to keeping the company one that others will want to work for in the future. Failure to do so can create havoc when recruiting and retaining key staff in the future.

Here are some tips to remember when making key changes:

- Always have the conversation in person, never via phone or email.
- Don’t do it alone, have another key person or HR staff member attend the meeting.
- Give the person time to clean their office/desk to get their personal things, even if you feel the need to have someone of authority in the office with them.
- Give them time to switch company phones and computers to their personal ones, often they need the contacts they have to reach out to people in their database, in most cases, it is easy for an IT person to lock down any confidential materials on the computers that should not be taken.
- Let the departing employee and the company know how much their contribution was appreciated over the years.
- Be prepared to offer them a separation package.
- Have the conversations early in the week and not on a Friday. Give that person a few days to get over their shell shock and schedule a time to meet with them the following week to go over any questions or details.
- Work the press – make sure that if these are senior positions that there is a press release explaining the reasons and again, thanking those that were eliminated for their years of service.
- Offer financial assistance to allow the departing staff to work with career coaches, resume writers and other tools to help them land quickly.

Most importantly, walk in their shoes and get an idea of how you would want to be handled if the situation was reversed. A little respect can go a long way.

Laurie Kahn is Founder and President of Media Staffing Network and can be reached at 480-306-8930 or via e-mail at Visit the Media Staffing Website

Read more articles from Laurie HERE