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Dealing With the Process of Letting an Employee Go
Most companies that hire people to work for them have to deal with letting people go from time to time. There are many reasons for doing this, from the company experiencing a decrease in profits and needing a way to save money to an employee not performing as well as expected. The conversation that comes with firing or laying someone off is not a conversation that either party enjoys. Here is some great advice from the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce on some ways to deal with the process of letting an employee go.
Know Your Reasons
While many places in the United States permit employers to fire an employee without any cause at all, the process may go more smoothly if you do have a solid reason for the decision. Some reasons to let an employee go include failure by the employee to fulfill duties or having an employee who prevents other workers from being able to do their jobs.
Having good reasons for letting someone go helps to protect the business as well.
Knowing when it is time to let an employee or contractor go goes along with knowing the reasons why you are parting ways. For example, a contractor who fails to fulfill their duties as outlined in the document could be in breach of contract. In that case, they may not only need to be let go, but they could be liable for any damages that occurred as a result. Before pursuing damages, check to see whether their contract was legally binding or legally enforceable.
Before letting an employee go, it is important to have documentation of the actions that led up to them being let go. This is advantageous for both parties. Documentation provides the employee with feedback that they can then use at their next opportunity and helps provide the employer with evidence that they let the employee go for legitimate reasons, not something that could be seen as discriminatory. It is best to begin the documentation process early, generally as soon as an employee begins to have issues or as soon as a company realizes they may need to lay people off.
Because documentation is so essential to the process of laying off an employee, businesses should have a system in place where they can easily organize that paperwork. A tool that can extract PDF pages can be helpful, as it allows you to select certain pages and create a new document if necessary. A tool that allows you to delete PDF pages can also come in handy so you can cut unnecessary pages from files, making PDFs easier to send between departments and to the released employee.
Prepare for the Conversation
Prior to letting an employee know that they are being laid off or fired, prepare yourself to have that difficult conversation. Be aware that the employee may be upset, but Ladders emphasizes that it is important that you remain calm and professional throughout the process regardless of their reaction. It is best to have this conversation in person if that is at all possible. Otherwise, schedule a phone or video meeting ahead of time to have additional documentation and allow both parties to prepare. Many companies have a specific process that human resources or hiring managers must follow before letting someone go, so make sure to consult with the proper authority regarding those procedures.
Use Tact and Preparation
Whether you need to let someone go due to downsizing or fire an employee because of misconduct, it is an unpleasant experience that takes a lot of time. These are just a few of the ways that a company can prepare itself for the process of letting an employee go. Remember to provide legitimate reasons for the departure and document as much as possible for both clarity and legal justifications. Letting someone go is difficult, but these strategies can help make the process a little less painful for you both.