How to Fire Someone Without Sacrificing Their Dignity

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Hiring the right person is a work of art. So is firing someone.

There are many articles written about hiring and retaining the ideal candidate for your organization. Hiring the right people is so important that some companies are even moving into big data to supplement the process.

What you don’t find much information about is the process of firing. Do you have a humane firing process in place? When employees are let go, do they leave with dignity?

How Can You Fire Someone Without Sacrificing Their Dignity?

I believe that if a leader has done her job properly, firing should come as no surprise to anybody.

How to fire well

But how can you possibly fire well? I find “Designing the Alliance” a very helpful place to start. That’s a fancy way of saying—set everything up in advance. When you hire a new employee make it very clear what your expectations are and clearly define their role. Discuss how they work, what their communication style is and how they learn best. You may even talk about their personality type as defined by the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator. Then explain your side. This process may take 1-2 conversations.

Once that information has been shared and gathered, get it all in writing. Outline how you will communicate, how often performance reviews will happen plus other important things you discussed. Document everything.

When will this documentation come in handy? How do you actually use the alliance you’ve designed?

Take a look at my interview with Cornell University below to learn more about how designing the alliance can help you fire employees in a humane way.

I’d love to hear your experiences with firing and/or being fired. Can you pick out what made the experience better or worse? What is your personal philosophy on how to fire someone in a way that allows them to leave with dignity? Please tell us in the comment section below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter.

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