5 Steps to Firing Someone in Your Small Business

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Firing someone has to be the most stressful job a business owner has to do. Think stomach pain, fear, high anxiety, concern, and shame all wrapped up into one crappy task of letting someone go.

Avoidance is typical until the pain of this person staying is worse than the pain of having to fire them. Sometimes it’s just necessary. They are not a good fit, they crossed the line, pissed off a customer, or hurt you or your brand in some way that warrants them to be kicked off the team.

There is a lot that can be done to potentially save a confused employee to bring them back on track but what about when you know for sure they have to go? How do you fire someone? Here are 5 steps.

1. Document

Don’t be afraid to fire. When you really do have a problem, make sure you document it. Laws in every state, province, and country make it clear what justification you need to let an employee go. Take this seriously by writing down the transgression and getting the offender to sign the document.

2. Know the facts

Know the facts about your obligations to this individual upon firing them. This includes government regulations you need to follow for severance and notice. Decide in advance what you are willing to give them, if anything, above what is expected. This includes notice, severance, and extension of benefits.

3. Prepare the paperwork

Prepare the paperwork in advance so that when you break the bad news all you have to do is hand it to them to avoid further confrontations. Once they go, be ready to change any passwords to restrict their access to company data.

Calculating performance with a pen and calculator

4. Decide the time

Decide what time you will notify them that you are letting them go. Friday afternoon is popular but if you can’t wait until then there is no reason why any other day at the end of the day wouldn’t work.

5. Be gracious

Even the most confident entrepreneur in the world breaks down the night before they have to fire someone. To tell someone they no longer have a way to provide for themselves and their family, whether it’s fully justified or not, is a brutal feeling.

As tough as it is for you, it’s also difficult for the employee receiving the news. Be gracious in your delivery. Be open to constructive feedback from your former employees. There may be some helpful insights that you could add to your systems so you won’t be in this situation again.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever had to fire an employee?

Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!

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