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How to Graciously Let a Bad Employee Go and How to Not Fire an Employee

No matter how strict you make the hiring process, you never know when employees will stop working according to their duties. Consistent behavior like this can lead to a situation where the company cannot continue with that employee but firing them does not seem right either. So, a solution that most managers like is letting them go graciously and not going through the firing process.

It helps handle the situation much better, and both parties end up on a positive note with empathy for everyone.

Top 10 Ways to Graciously Let a Bad Employee Go and How to Not Fire an Employee

If you also face such an employee, here are the top 10 ways to graciously let them go without firing them immediately.

1.      Be clear with the employee from the very first day

Chances are that when you hire an employee, you make them sign a contract about their position. This contract clearly states what they must do and how well they must perform. Also, state in the contract that if they cannot perform as needed, the company may need to let them go.

That’s how the employee will know about it from the very first day, and they will be responsible for anything happening to them.

2.      It is always better to give them the opportunity first.

Managers can know about the performance of an employee way before anyone else, whether they stop showing interest in their job or start behaving differently as if the job is of no value to them. It is the point where you need to give them some time. See if they first get the opportunity to quit the job since that will be the best thing for you.

You may ask them if they want to improve or if something is going on with their personal life affecting their workplace performance.

3.      Follow the legal procedure.

Since the employee has signed the contract with you, you must always follow the legal procedure according to the contract. You cannot fire any employee from the team if the firing reason is not mentioned in the contract, so you need to find the right reason. Employees can file a case against you otherwise, so you must act according to the legalities.

If you are not finding solid reasons, stay focused on the facts and consult your lawyer. They will help you find a better reason.

4.      Keep communicating their performance issues.

It is not instant that you find an employee not performing well, and you decide to let them go. Instead, it is a gradual process that starts with their performance dropping, and it keeps on dropping. As a manager, you must communicate with the employee regarding their performance issues.

Ask them if the company can help them in any way and remind them of the consequences they might face. It will be your way of mentally preparing them for what’s coming.

5.      Use all the facts to let them know with dignity.

The decision will be very harsh for them, but if you discreetly convey the message, it will be more understandable. You need to make them realize that it’s them not meeting the performance requirements that have caused you to make the decision.

Collect all the facts you think are affecting their performance and see how they are not meeting the company’s needs. Once you are up with all the facts, you need to be straight with creating your decision. However, you never want to be disrespectful towards them. So, always let them know professionally while maintaining workplace dignity.

6.      Always use a face-to-face meeting to convey the news

How you convey the message decides the employees’ reaction and your next move. The most professional way is having a face-to-face meeting with that employee but keeping that meeting private is also essential. So, your best option will be to have a personal meeting with one other person from the management team to be the witness.

7.      Listen to them carefully and answer accordingly.

While you let them go and convey the decision, they may come up with some arguments or excuses. As a manager dealing with them might be hard since most of them will be emotional. However, you need to answer them by:

  • Nodding
  • Saying you understand
  • Telling them, they are right

However, you must add that the decision has been made. Also, mention the prior warnings conveyed to them regarding their performance.

8.      End your relationship with them on a positive note

Ending things on a positive note will help both parties. So, while finding their negatives, you must find the positives about their tenure at the company and praise them for it. Meanwhile, if the company owes them anything, including the final paycheck or a holiday trip, convey all the information they need to know about it.

9.      Arrange their departure beforehand.

Before conveying the decision to that employee, you need to arrange their departure with them. It includes asking them to leave all the company belongings at their desk and collecting their personal belongings. Additionally, remove their access from the IT system of your company for safety and privacy reasons.

10.  Inform the rest of the team to manage the workload.

As one employee goes from the team, the rest of the team needs to act accordingly. Managing the workload and informing other employees how their performance affects their role is important. Conveying the message of laying off a specific employee will help you keep the company going at the desired pace before a new employee is hired for the position.

Final Verdict

Whether an employee has severed you for years or now, firing them will always be stressful. On the other hand, the abovementioned ways help you let that employee go in the most managed and ethical way possible. So, remember that you must focus on the facts and never state anything personal while making the decision or conveying it to the employee. That way, the employee will find leaving easy, and your team can maintain a healthy working environment.

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