Don't underestimate the emotional impact of telling someone they no longer have a job. It sounds really obvious. It is really obvious. But the theory is so much easier than the practice.
If there is one piece of advice that I would give any employer right from the outset, it's to think about how the employee in question is likely to react. This simple thought process can mean the difference between a long drawn out, costly and acrimonious employee departure and one where in spite of the shock and horror of losing their position, the employee leaves your employment relatively swiftly and professionally.
Leaving aside the law for a moment (and assuming that this is not a redundancy situation), what you know of that employee and how you anticipate they will react, need to be important influences in the strategy that you take when informing them that you do no longer want them on your payroll.
You may imagine many things when you undertake this thought process. The best way to manage it is to put yourself, as objectively as you can, in their shoes, drawing on what you know of them. What is the impact of your proposed approach going to have on them? Are they going to be employable somewhere else? Do they have a family and what will this mean for the family (for example, are you dismissing a breadwinner)? Will they feel they have little choice but to challenge you? Are they the challenging sort?
Whilst the law can help you to make the employee's exit a lawful one, the more humane and respectful the exit process, the better it will be for everyone concerned. We advise as much on helping to manage a good exit process as we do on how to ensure that your process ticks the right legal boxes and can't be successfully challenged later on.
It is rarely, if ever, necessary or respectful to treat the employee like a high security prisoner in the last remaining period of their employment with you.
In most cases the real protection for your business is three fold:
1. Recruit well in the first place, using a robust on-boarding approach that needn't be complex or detailed, just thorough.
2. Don't delay in addressing bad behaviour by an employee. Act decisively when the first signs of bad conduct appear and follow a good policy approach to deal with this.
3. Plan and prepare well before communicating a dismissal intention to an employee.
For free guidance, video content and recommendations on how to dismiss an employee the right way, for your benefit as much as for the employee's, take a look here.
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Being fired is one of the most stressful things than can happen to a person. So it's completely natural for anyone going through the dreaded process to feel a range of emotions — including intense anger — which can prompt them to say or do things that they will later regret, says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and the author of "The Humour Advantage". "Not only is the rejection hurtful, but you may feel the action was unfair," adds Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job." "Because most terminations happen without notice, anxiety about your livelihood and next move can be overwhelming.