How to Fire an Employee: A Difficult Process Made Easier

How to Fire an Employee: A Difficult Process Made Easier

After you have taken all of the preliminary steps, considered all of the potential ramifications, legal and otherwise, and made the difficult decision to let someone go, stick to it. Don’t torture yourself with second thoughts. Don’t prolong the firing.

Only the worker’s direct supervisors, and any witnesses that will be present at the termination meeting, should be told about the termination decision in advance. An advance leak of a firing can only worsen the situation.

In years past, late Friday afternoon was considered the optimum time to let someone go. Today, earlier in the day, or even the week is deemed appropriate. Some companies that take this approach offer the employee the option of either remaining for the rest of the day or week or leaving immediately with pay for the workday.

When you are ready to proceed with the termination, call the employee into the office. Approach her with, “I have something to discuss with you.”

After the employee and any other managerial personnel or witnesses have gathered in your office, get to the point quickly. Briefly explain to the employee that she is being fired. Use the words “we are going to have to let you go.”

Summarize the main reasons for the termination and recap the warnings that have been issued and the opportunities extended to improve her performance record.

Give the person a check for monies due. If you are offering severance pay, detail the severance offer and present the employee with the forfeiture document to be signed if the severance is to be paid. Explain any continued work options. Offer to let the employee clean out her office or desk now, or have you mail any personal belongings to her later. If the employee elects to have you mail her belongings, have two people oversee the cleaning process to make sure that all of the employee’s personal possessions are mailed.

Show appropriate sympathy for the employee, but not empathy. Do not waver and change your mind. Do not overstate any aspect of the employee’s performance.

Answer any questions the terminated employee may have, even if she interrupts you. A termination is extremely emotional. Don’t be surprised if the employee doesn’t hear the basic message or doesn’t understand the details of her firing. You may have to restate all or part of the termination.

As long as the employee doesn’t lose control, extend her every reasonable courtesy. Certainly give the person an opportunity to say good-bye to coworkers. She will only call these people on the phone later anyway.

If the employee does lose control and becomes seriously verbally abusive, ask her to vacate the building. Don’t get upset. Remember, no matter what you think of the employee, that person is being terminated. She is leaving, not you.

Even if you or someone else in the office can overpower a suddenly violent discharged employee, the risk of a lawsuit is huge. The one time I did call the police, the employee fled the building before they arrived. But the (Boston) police told me its policy was not to refuse cancellations on this type of call because all too often the discharged employee may return with a weapon. In this case, the employee did return with his dog—but the dog was about the size of a miniature poodle, with about the same level of ferociousness.

The odds of you or another employee being endangered during a firing is slim, but you do need to be prepared for the unexpected.

Takeaways You Can Use

  • Follow through quickly once you have made a firm decision to fire someone.
  • Your basic message may get lost in the emotion of the moment—take the time to be clear.
  • Sympathize, but don’t empathize. Be respectful, but don’t waver.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.

We make starting a business simple.

We make starting a business simple.

Our courses will show you exactly how to start and run a business

Our courses will show you exactly how to start and run a business

Learn everything you need to know to plan, start and grow a business

We’ll show you what to do right from the very beginning. You’ll learn how to find your idea, write your business plan, attract customers and all the other steps to building a successful business.

Our courses are taught by real entrepreneurs

You will learn from BusinessTown’s highly experienced experts and entrepreneurs. They will share their experience, wisdom and skills with you. And they will guide you through every aspect of planning, starting, and growing your business. 

Start a business you love, earn more money and live the life you want

Our easy-to-follow video courses will quickly teach you how to start and run a business. Our courses can turn your dreams into reality even if you don’t have a business idea or don’t know where to start.

You’ll find a course that’s perfect for you

Get unlimited access to 130+ courses. We cover it all…from finding your idea and creating your plan to making sales and building a successful business. No matter where you are in your business journey, there is a course just for you.

Learn at your own pace and on any device

Take all the courses you want. Anytime. Anywhere. Any device. Watch one video lesson a day (average 7 minutes) or binge watch the whole thing. It’s up to you!

Explore our top 3 courses and start learning now

OUR #1 MOST POPULAR COURSE

Start-a-Business 101

This course will teach you all the basics of starting a business. You will be guided step by step through the entire process of starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur.

FEATURED COURSE

How to Find a Business Idea

Learn how to find a great business idea with this course. Discover how to generate awesome business ideas, how to evaluate and validate them and how to choose the very best one for you.

FEATURED COURSE

How to Create a Business Plan

Learn how to create an excellent business plan from scratch! This course will walk you through every step from start to finish. You will be guided by instructional videos, a sample plan and a fill-in-the-blanks business plan template.

Get unlimited access to all these popular courses

You’ll get all the tools you need to succeed

You’ll get all the tools you need to succeed

Fill-in-the-blank templates and 50+ other tools will show you exactly what to do at any given step. They will save you time, keep you organized and help you get your business up and running as rapidly as possible. 

Our most popular tools include:

  • 300 Best Business Ideas, 111 pages
  • Business Idea Evaluation Worksheet
  • Ultimate Startup Checklist, 18 pages
  • Business Plan Template, 29 pages
  • Sample Business Plan, 35 pages
  • Marketing Plan Under $2k, 12 pages
  • Financial Statement Templates

What they are saying

What they are saying

Watch the video tour and get ready to become your own boss

Play

BusinessTown founder Bob Adams’s courses and books have been featured in:

Learn how to start a business with our video courses

130+ courses

Unlimited access

50+ tools

Templates & more

Discussion board

Get expert answers

Frequently asked questions

BusinessTown is an e-learning platform built for people interested in starting and running a business. 

On BusinessTown, you get unlimited access to 130+ business courses taught by real successful entrepreneurs and highly skilled experts. You also gain access to 50+ business tools and to our discussion board, where you can get expert answers to your business questions.

No matter what you want to learn or where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you. 

Marketing, ideas, financing, planning, naming, how to get started… BusinessTown covers everything you need to start and run your business right. 

The courses are available anywhere, anytime, on any device, and you can take them at your own pace. 

Create your BusinessTown account to get started and try BusinessTown free for 7 days. 

BusinessTown includes unlimited access to 130+ business courses taught by real successful entrepreneurs and highly skilled experts.

You also get full access to 50+ downloadable tools like worksheets, templates, and samples, and to our discussion board where you can get an answer to any business question you have. 

BusinessTown is $19.95 per month. It provides unlimited access to all 130+ courses, all tools, and our discussion board, where you can get expert answers to your business questions.

We offer a free 7-day trial. If you decide that BusinessTown is not for you, then just cancel within 7 days of starting your free trial and you will not be charged at all.

If you wish to cancel your BusinessTown account, you can do so through your account page under the Billing section. 

If you have any questions, email us at bbisson@businesstown.com. We are more than happy to help!

BusinessTown includes 130+ courses on all business topics: Getting started, business ideas, business plans, strategy, marketing, websites, social media, online advertising, finance, accounting, leadership, sales, legal issues, home-based businesses and more!

Looking for a business idea? Why don’t you check out our course How to Find a Business Idea. 

Do you need help creating your business plan? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at our course How to Create a Business Plan.

Do you want to be walked step by step through the entire process of starting a business? Check out our ultimate course, Start-a-Business 101. 

Are you not sure that you are ready to start your own business? Consider our course, What It Takes to Start a Business.

Are you looking for financing for a new or existing business? We offer 5 courses on financing a small business. We suggest you start with the course, How to Finance Your Business.

Do you want to learn about marketing? Because it’s so important, we offer over 30 courses on sales and marketing. Consider starting with the short course, Developing Your Marketing Message.

Want to learn about marketing online? We offer 5 courses on creating websites, 6 courses on digital marketing and 5 courses on promoting through social media. To get started we recommend the course, The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing.

Looking to get inspired and learn how other entrepreneurs succeeded in starting and growing their businesses? We offer several courses on this including, How to Succeed as a Woman Entrepreneur.

Do you already have a business and are looking to improve it? We have several courses on this topic. Try starting with the course, How to Boost Profits.

No matter where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you.   

On BusinessTown you have access to 50+ downloadable tools like worksheets, samples, and templates to help you start and run a business. 

Our most popular tools include:

The Ultimate Startup Checklist, 18 pages 

The 300 Best Small Business Ideas ebook, 105 pages 

The Complete Business Plan Template, 29 pages

Complete Sample Business Plan, 35 pages 

Sample Marketing Plan Under $2k, 12 pages

One Page Marketing Plan Template

One Page Sample Marketing Plan

50 Guerilla Marketing Tactics Worksheet, 8 pages

Business Idea Evaluation Worksheet 

8 Basic Steps to Making the Sale Template

Sales Presentations that Your Customers Will Love Template

Sales Presentation Sample Dialog

50 Ways to Generate Endless Sales Leads Worksheet 

Cold Calling Script Template and Sample

Emails that Land Sales Template and Sample

Voicemails that Get Callbacks Template and Sample

Income Statement Templates and Samples

Balance Sheet Templates and Samples

Cash Flow Templates and Samples

Calculate Depreciation Template

Key Financial Ratios Sample

How I Started a Successful Business with No Money and No Experience, Case Study

Key Questions to Select the Best Business Idea Worksheet

Validate Your Business Idea Worksheet

Using the 6-Step Approach to Choose a Business Idea Case Study

21 Easy-to-Start Part-Time Business Ideas Guide

42 Home-Based Businesses You Can Start Guide

Why I Repeatedly Changed the Legal Entity of My Business, Case Study

Evaluate Customer Segments and Competitors Worksheet

Differentiate Your Business from Competitors Worksheet

How I Differentiated My First Business in a Crowded Marketplace, Case Study

Creating a Press Release Template and Sample

Marketing Bob’s Rent-A-Bike, Case Study

Planning, Designing and Creating Your Website Worksheet

Search Engine Optimization Worksheet

50 Blog Post Ideas Worksheet

50 Creative Online Marketing Ideas Worksheet

Evaluate Potential Names for Your Business Worksheet

How I Financed Buying a Business Case Study

Cover Letter to Seek Financing Sample

Collection Letter Samples

The Four Quadrant Theory of Time Management Graphic

BusinessTown courses will show you how to start your business right and grow it into a highly successful enterprise. 

You will learn from highly experienced entrepreneurs and experts who have been there and done it. You won’t have to learn by trial and error. You won’t have to guess what to do next. BusinessTown courses will guide you through your entire business journey.

Even if you are a beginner you will quickly learn how to start a business you love. If you already have a business, BusinessTown will show how to grow it and make it better.

By just watching one video lesson a day (about 7 minutes average) you can quickly ramp up your business knowledge. No matter where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you taught by an expert on BusinessTown.

What would you like to learn more about today? Starting a business? How to find a business idea? How to write a business plan? How to do your marketing? How to build an online presence? How to get financing? How to prepare financial statements? BusinessTown has courses that cover all these topics and hundreds more.

So if you want to become a smarter entrepreneur and start and build a successful business, you’ll want to start streaming the courses on BusinessTown today.

Copyright © 2021 BusinessTown LLC. All rights reserved. BusinessTown ® is a registered trademark of BusinessTown LLC.

QUIZ: WHAT BUSINESS IS BEST FOR YOU?

QUIZ: WHAT BUSINESS IS BEST FOR YOU?