Before making the decision to terminate an employee, you should keep thorough documentation of poor performance and behavioral issues. But what best practices should you keep in mind when you’ve got the needed paperwork and you’re ready to terminate? Running a smooth termination meeting may be more art than science, but there are some things you can do to make these conversations less painful for everyone involved. Here are a few:
- Hold the meeting in a private location.
- Have the meeting at a time of day when the terminated employee can make a graceful exit (e.g., during the lunch hour or the very end of the day).
- Have a script or at least an outline of the points you want to cover—and deviate from it as little as possible.
- Choose your words carefully—the terminated employee is likely to remember them (a script should help with this).
- Don’t exaggerate the problems that led to termination.
- Don’t downplay the problems that led to termination—giving a weak reason like “poor fit” will often lead employees to make up their own illegal reason for the termination.
- After the meeting, take notes about what was said by whom, should what happened during the meeting ever come into question.