Compassionate Termination of an Employee

Compassionate Termination of an Employee

Compassionate Termination of an Employee

Firing an employee can be a complicated situation. Unfortunately, when an employee is being fired, he or she generally did something to cause the termination. In such situations, things like company theft, gross misconduct, poor work performance, or other negative behaviors have led the company bring an end to its relationship with an employee.

HR expert Ed Baldwin discusses such situations in an article entitled Fire With Grace. He states that regardless of the reasons for an employee’s termination, it is imperative that personnel involved in terminating an employee must always act with a sense of grace and compassion. Employee termination should never be done with an overly negative tone or attitude.

If you are firing an employee, you are the face of the company – and you should avoid being rude or nasty. Baldwin says of the situation, “The termination process is already bad enough. You’re removing the employee of all control. You’re in complete command of the situation. They’ve lost their job and now have to find a way to recover. Don’t make matters worse. Do what you can to help.”

He points to several key ways that personnel can show grace when firing an employee. He suggests that those responsible for firing employees should be sure to:

  • Be candid about why the employee is being terminated

Honesty is an important element of letting an employee go. This helps him or her to have a better understanding as far as mistakes made. While it may seem harsh, being honest is a good way to help a terminated employee to learn from his or her mistakes.

  • Kindly acknowledge areas where the employee did well

Be sure to mention any positive things an employee contributed during his or her tenure. Be kind, and acknowledge how they helped. Thank them for this.

  • Wish them luck in future employment endeavors

Authentically tell the employee being terminated that you wish the best for him or her. This can be a kind way of alleviating the harshness of being fired.

  • Provide advice about resources for finding new employment

Many free resources exist for individuals who are seeking a new job. Compassionately point the terminated employee to these resources and explain how he or she can best make use of them.

  • Share key information about next steps

Prior to terminating an employee, make yourself aware of relevant information about what happens after he or she no longer has a role at the company. Key areas to consider relate to health insurance, unemployment, and how you will respond to requests for references from their prospective employers.

  • Be respectful

Even if the terminated employee does not show you respect, do your best to be respectful of his or her situation. Losing a job is a difficult thing and it can bring out a lot of emotions. Keep your cool, and keep your own emotions in check.

Handling terminations with a sense of compassion and kindness will have a positive affect on your company brand and reputation. Utilizing these methods will demonstrate to past, present, and future employees that you care for them and want to approach them with a sense of empathy. Such measures are likely to have a profoundly positive impact on employee perceptions of your organization.