Oh Crud! You Need to Fire Someone
Updated: Jun 23, 2020
It’s not easy
Firing someone is among the hardest tasks you face. Dismissing an employee is a horrible experience for everyone involved. Yet, the growth and well-being of your construction company depends on being able to tackle the task head-on.
In the last 5-part series of posts, I dealt with doing all you can to retain your best hands. Doing so is to your advantage. Still, there are those times when letting someone go is also advantageous.
“Hire slow and fire fast” is one of those sayings you hear repeated often. There is likely some merit in the concept. Yet, taken too glibly and all the merit vanishes. In many cases, it simply makes sense to give the employee a chance to improve first. Yet, if the improvement doesn’t come quickly enough or doesn’t come at all, it is time to discharge the employee and find a new hand.
It’s not pleasant
There is no joy in having to tell someone he or she will no longer be working for you. From your own difficult feelings, to those of the hand who is being let go, to your other employees there is heaviness.
And, you may be concerned that the other folks in your employ will be nervous or concerned about the fact you are letting someone go. Yet, often the co-workers of the person being fired are at least relieved they’ll no longer have to put up with the antics of the person who has become excess baggage. Excess baggage they themselves may feel they’ve been dragging about.
When it gets down to it, companies which put their employees first are companies in which the person not pulling his own weight is let go.
It’s not effortless
The folks at The Art of Manliness have an excellent article concerning many aspects of the firing process. They say, “Firing someone is an unpleasant experience. There’s no way around it. In spite of that, you can work to make the experience as smooth as possible, protect your company, and treat your ex-employee with courtesy on the way out. Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business.”
The basic formula
Once you’ve closed the door and are facing the employee to be fired here are some key words and strategy you can use in the process.
“I’ve got some bad news for you.”
“As you know, [the reason he or she is being fired.]”
Don’t say “will be terminated,” rather say, “have been terminated.”
Close by thanking the person for his contributions to the company.
There are legal expectations to be met when the decision is made to terminate the employment of an individual. Be sure to document well each step of the process.
You may also wish to seek legal counsel or the help of a Human Resource adviser. You don’t have to have an entire HR department. You can reach out to a freelance HR person. One we recommend is Lynda McKay owner of HRextension.