Maybe you have never had to fire an employee before. Here’s a roadmap of how the meeting should go.

  1. Tell the employee the purpose of the meeting immediately upon them entering the room. “We are meeting today because the company has decided to terminate your employment”. The decision has been made, and they are being informed of this. Don’t say “We are meeting to talk about your performance” because you’re not — that time has passed and it’s too late to talk about it. Decision made.
  2. Tell them in clear words “Your employment with the company is terminated”. Don’t mince words.
  3. Be prepared for surprise, sadness, anger. Don’t allow them to make excuses, bargain, or negotiate. Don’t doubt that the employee warrants dismissal. Many employees will bargain with statements like “I just need one more chance” or will try to make their performance deficiencies the fault of leadership “I was never counselled about my performance”. The KPIs are clear, and they get a “chance” to perform every day.
  4. Concisely explain any details of the separation including their entitlement to benefits such as severance pay, etc. Will they be immediately escorted from the building? Tell them that. Outline the immediate next steps between now and when they are completely dissociated from the company.
  5. Keep it professional. Don’t talk about your thoughts or feelings about the termination. If you are not in a position to change the decision, stick to the facts and stay in the present.
  6. Offer to help if you think that’s fair. If the employee asks, you can provide letter of recommendation or act as a reference if you want to. And remember, you can be honest if you are going to be a reference, even if what you have to say about the former employee is not stellar.

Author: Jasmine P. Ramratan

Jasmine has over 15 years of human resources and progressive management experience in government and the Department of National Defence. Jasmine is a positive, high energy and gregarious person who enjoys pushing her limits in new and exciting realms. As she transitions to a second career following nearly 15 years of service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, she is seeking new opportunities to exercise her leadership, HR knowledge, and love of public speaking. In her spare time, Jasmine serves on the Board of Directors as the Vice Chairperson for the national charity Courageous Companions which provides service dogs to military veterans and first responders who have physical and/or psychological injuries from their service. This cause is very close to her heart as a military veteran, spouse of an injured veteran and dog lover. She is looking to expand her leadership roles by engaging in opportunities to mentor young human resource professionals to continuously have a positive impact on the industry within Alberta. She firmly believes that philanthropy is one of the most rewarding and personally fulfilling ways to use her talents and has committed to dedicating a portion of her time to these endeavours. Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Royal Military College of Canada, and the Certified Professional in Human Resources designation (CPHR) since 2014 and has native language abilities in French and English, and a working knowledge of Spanish and German.