How to fire people with dignity

How do you 'let go' of an employee without humiliating them?

Sometimes positions are eliminated and the employee isn't needed anymore.  The basic rule of thumb of how to treat them with dignity - is how would you want to be treated.

Explaining the reasons why they are being let go can help. Offering them a letter of recommendation is also much appreciated. Treating them fairly with regards to their severance.  Offering to put them in touch with other companies that might hire them.  All this goes a long way to helping people leave with dignity.

What if they are being let go for cause? 

Of course, this assumes, you are letting a person go who has done nothing wrong.  If they have misbehaved and are being let go with cause, then again - nonjudgmental - reasons why they are being let go and that what happened was not consistent with the expectations of the company. Understanding that what happened - they may and probably do view as unfair - allows you to be compassionate while doing what needs to be done. And again - treating them fairly with regards to severance and what is owed them will go a long way towards helping people leave with dignity.  It helps when you focus on the behavior being unacceptable, not that they as a person as unacceptable.

Most importantly - if something happens and someone is let go with cause - then - no gossiping. No bad mouthing the person. No rumors. Understand that good people sometimes do bad things. It's enough to remind staff that - your organization treats people with dignity. And leave it at that.

What are some of the best practices you use in terminating employees?

Best practices involve - treating people fairly and with dignity and making sure the paperwork is processed properly and making sure they are treated fairly with a severance and that any questions they have about what happens next - are treated with compassion and truth.

Getting fired is upsetting. It's scary. There is a lot of unknown.  Employers can make a difficult situation less difficult by being honest and open and fair and by having compassion for the person being fired.

The person being fired may not and probably won't reciprocate with dignity. That's fine. Their behavior defines them. You - should act with dignity and compassion at all times, even when and especially when you are dealing with people who aren't.

Treat all people who are being terminated with dignity and compassion. All of them.

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