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How to fire your employee with tact

by , 05 April 2013
'Cutbacks, reorganisations and retrenchments are a part of business. As a manager, the time will come when you'll have to let one or more of your employees go. But do you know how to break the news to your employee with tact and diplomacy? Follow these strategies to find out how...

With a dwindling economy, companies are finding themselves in a tough position of having to restructure. In many cases, this means having to let go of some employees.

Being a bearer of bad news is by no means an easy task.

Don't trivialise it! If you aren't prepared, it could get ugly.

Use these strategies to fire your employee

  • Do it in private. Pick a time and place where you'll be free of distractions and make sure that no one else can hear what you're discussing.
  • Get straight to the point. 'Right from the word go let the employee know that the news isn't good,' says The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service. For example say something like: 'I have some unpleasant news'.
  • Be prepared for an emotional reaction. Let the employee express their emotions. 'They might be tearful or angry, but let them vent. Don't say: 'calm down' or 'try to be reasonable'. These comments are cold and condescending,' advises the Loose Leaf.
  • Plan for the worst. If you suspect the employee might become violent, make sure you've provided for your own safety. Make sure you have security you can fall back on.
  • Give assistance where you can. 'Once the employee's emotions have subsided, point out the assistance you can offer in terms of retrenchment packages, referrals and contacts that could help with new employment,' says the Loose Leaf.
  • Don't feel guilty. Forgive yourself for being the bearer of bad news. You aren't causing their distress, the news is. You're merely doing your job by delivering it.

Knowing how to break the news to your employee will ensure you handle firing with tact and diplomacy.

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