Sacking Someone

How to Sack Someone the right way: Part 2

Sacking SomeoneIn the first part of how to fire someone the right way, we looked at the appalling methods some managers use to sack someone be it via email, an answer machine or even social networks.

We also looked at why it’s vital to keep your reasons to sack someone as factual as possible.

In this 2nd and final part we will be looking at why you should never sack someone alone, the importance of keeping the rest of your team in the loop and exactly which day is best to sack someone.


6. How to Sack Someone: Expect the unexpected

Everybody reacts differently to being sacked.  Some will realise that it was on the cards and leave quietly, already thinking of what they need to do next.

However, you need to be prepared when things go a bit awry and the more scenarios you can practice for, the smoother the meeting should go.

If you feel nervous about the situation, then you may also want to gather some HR advice on how best to deal with the unexpected.

Brace yourself for a combination of the below and think about how you might handle the situation:

  • You sack someone – and they threaten you
  • You sack someone – and they start to cry
  • You sack someone – and they blatantly will not listen to anything you have to say
  • You sack someone – and they demand to talk somebody more senior in the business
  • You sack someone – and they sit with arms folded, refusing to answer your questions
  • You sack someone – and they stand up and start to pace the room

Ideally the termination will not come as a shock to the staff member and you won’t have to deal with any out of the ordinary behaviour, but at least you will be able to deal with it if you can anticipate what you are going to potentially have to deal with.


7. How to Sack Someone: Inform the team/clients

As soon as the termination is official, you should notify other employees and any key clients that particular staff member was dealing with.  If you don’t inform the rest of the business, get ready for chinese whispers to quickly start circulating and the message to get mixed up.

Gather your team together and tell them that about the termination and that it just didn’t just work out.  You cannot under any circumstances divulge the reason for the termination, but you can stress that the business are moving forward and learning from the experience.

Informing a client is slightly different.  You need to communicate that the person has left the business and outline a succession plan to the client.  You need to assure the client that they will be receiving even better service because of the change and that the person taking over is fully up to speed with the intricacies of the account.  Ensure that you have this full prepared and documented so that you can quickly follow up the phone call with an email to the client.


8. How to Sack Someone: Don’t sack someone alone

It’s vital that you should always have another person present when you have to sack someone.  If your business is large enough, then usually this additional person will be from HR.  And then if the situation does then escalate, you will have a witness to document exactly what went wrong in the meeting.

As well as ensuring that it isn’t simply your word against theirs, the person from HR will also have more experience in dealing with firing employees and will be able to facilitate keeping the discussion on track.

If you are an SME and your business isn’t large enough to accommodate a HR department then you should always have a colleague with you.   Make sure that the colleague isn’t a peer of the person being fired as that will prove very embarrassing for the individual.


9. How to Sack Someone: Do not make them a Martyr

As unpleasant as having to sack someone is, you should never make a martyr out of an employee, even if their performance sets a new benchmark for woefulness in your business.

If you follow these tips and do everything professionally, the individual should leave the company without a poor impression of you or the business.  It should also ensure that the staff who are left in the business also feel that the dismissal was carried out in the right way.


10. How to Sack Someone: Never sack someone on a Friday (if you can help it)

Why?  For a start it will probably ruin somebody’s weekend, but more importantly is that the person will have had an entire weekend to stew about it and may come in Monday to collect there things ready to share a few choice words.

There are a few different schools of thoughts on how to tackle this one.  Some think that Monday morning is the best time to fire someone, therefore giving the individual the entire week to look for a new position.

From experience, I would recommend Thursdays as the best day for this particularly unpleasant task.

That way the sacked member of staff can have a day off before starting their job search after the weekend, and they will be able to approach a new week with perhaps more positivity than the week before.  It may also give you time to get somebody knew in that position for a Monday morning start.


I hope you found some of the tips on how to sack someone the right way useful.

Thanks for reading and should you require any further help finding that next big move, or if you are looking to recruit, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here, or you can join the LinkedIn Response Knowledge Network here.  Otherwise feel free to get in touch with me personally, via Twitter or LinkedIn using the links below.

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James Kunen
10 years ago

There’s a lot of good advice here, so I want that one small but important point is not overlooked: Nathan reference’s an employee’s returning to the office to gather his/her belongings. Hooray! I infer that Nathan does not subscribe to the new normal, which is to treat terminated employees as presumed dangerous and have security usher them from the building. That oft-repeated scene, totally unjustified in all but a few very special circumstances (e.g., derivatives traders who could blow up the world at a keystroke), leaves terminated employees embittered and retained employees angry and distrustful of the company, as well.… Read more »

TParks
TParks
9 years ago

In normal termination situations, I give the employee the option of coming in before or after hours to collect their belongings OR if they prefer we pack up and send.