5 Tips On How To Effectively and Gracefully Let Go of Your Employee

5 Tips On How To Effectively and Gracefully Let Go of Your Employee

Letting an employee go is never easy and it would be an understatement to say that dismissing an employee is an unpleasant experience for everyone in the workplace. Nobody enjoys this process, except probably the former President of the United States. However, without weeding out some unproductive employees and making necessary adjustments, it is impossible to run a business effectively. While there is no easy way to do it, knowing how to dismiss an employee gracefully is paramount to keep your organization as a smooth-sailing ship.

Here are a few tips that might come in handy when the unavoidable situation arises.

1. Make sure that there are no surprises

A termination should never come out of the blue. Make it a practice to conduct regular performance evaluations and to issue numerous warnings. Discuss the evaluation results with the employee in question and ensure that they are in the know that their performance and workplace actions are deemed inadequate and must be changed immediately.

Most importantly, conduct a series of performance evaluations and make sure that they are all well-documented before you make an informed decision. In short, you need to ensure that the reason is strong and backed up by convincing evidence.

2. Do it In A Dignified Manner

Humiliating a soon-to-be ex employee or any employee for that matter is never the right way. Given that the decision in itself is a traumatizing ordeal, it has to be absolutely ensured that this conversation takes place behind closed doors, and never in a public venue. Additionally, taking this action through voicemail or an email doesn’t settle and on the contrary, you might come off as insensitive or even rude. A face-to-face conversation is the most ideal and prefered way of going about this, no matter how hard you feel this is.

Also, a Forbes article states that it is always advisable to have a third-party witness present in case the employee chooses to pursue a law-suit against you or the company. In that case, a witness can confirm that all your actions were performed legally and ethically during the whole dismissal process.

3. Skip Beating Around The Bush and Get To The Point

Of course there is no denying that it is an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it isn’t necessary to drag it out. In fact, an article on The Balance, a reputed US-based website with 19 million unique viewers notes that, “Rehashing your dissatisfaction when you fire an employee is not beneficial.” Without a doubt, the employee would

want to know the reason behind you letting go of them. Have all the documentation ready and be prepared with an answer that summarizes the whole situation without much detail or placing any blame. Additionally, it is also wise to have yourself equipped with answers for questions regarding the final paycheck, unemployment benefits and so on.

4. Make Sure That Their Departure Is Timely and Proper

There are a few more things that need to be considered as a part of the termination process:

  • Politely request the employee to handover their keys, door-passes or any other company-owned electronic devices that might be in their possession.
  • Make adequate arrangements for the employee to collect their personal
    belongings either after working hours or on the following weekend. This is a more empathetic approach than subjecting them to clear their desk with the other colleagues watching.
  • Additionally, it is absolutely essential to shut down any of the employee’s access to your Intellectual Property and IT systems. It can also be planned in advance with your IT team to make sure that he/she cannot gain entry to any professional communication or information storage materials.
  • It is considerate to offer to forward any parting message or personal communication that the terminated employee wishes to share with their co-workers.

5. Keep Your Team In The Know

Of  course there are going to be rumours spreading across the water cooler talks once an employee is terminated. To avoid all the hush-hush, it is always better to communicate the news of the employee’s departure as soon as possible and preferably on the same day. Failing which, there is always a risk that the employee will take it to social media and frame the narrative from their perspective. Of course there is no stopping that from happening as social media often serves as an outlet to share their feelings. However, from an internal perspective, as a leader, it is always a good practice to alert your team about the change of employment, while not sharing further information in order to protect the dignity of the former employee.


Of course there are going to be hard feelings from both the ends during any termination, but you need to treat it as a mandate to handle the process with dignity and respect. This often eases the situation and displays your concern not just for the employee but for the entire team as a whole. Let’s talk!