One of the most difficult responsibilities of a manager is to inform the employees about their termination. It is never easy to break the news of unemployment in front of them. Thus, you should prepare yourself for the uncomfortable conversation with the employees to ensure everything goes down well.
You cannot predict their reaction to the news as some take it sportingly while others create a scene. Expect a negative impact on your relationships with them because of the decision to let them go. With the number of uncertainties, the new managers often lose control of the conversation because of the emotional outburst.
8 Tips to Break the Bad News to Your Employees
New managers can learn from their experienced counterparts to deal with difficult situations. They have gone through conversations to let the employees go many times in their careers. And from each time, the following are some tips they have gained of the employee’s reactions.
Be Transparent and Honest
The person getting fired deserves to know the reason for it. It will help them with their future employment to avoid making the same mistakes. Moreover, it will avoid any dispute or lawsuit if they find the termination unlawful.
If the reason is their inefficiency, you should remain polite with the explanation. Also, make sure the conversation is clear and concise. No one wants to hear a long and vague explanation during these conversations.
Prepare for the Conversation
You need to understand the importance of every word while breaking the news in front of the employees. A single word can turn the tone of the conversation. Thus, you should prepare your part of the conversation in advance.
Employees ask some common questions during the conversation that are easily available on the internet. You should have answers for them to avoid any misunderstanding or dispute. Moreover, you will have time to take no guarantor loans to offer a severance package for termination because of cost-cutting.
Create a Log
The majority of the time, you are aware of the employee behaviour leading towards the difficult conversation. You should create a log of their performance and behaviour at least a week before letting them go. These logs will act as evidence in your favour if the employees take a legal route.
Make notes and warn them of the consequences of their behaviour during the time. The notes should explain the reason in detail that includes poor performance, bad behaviour, or some other relevant information.
Witness in the Room
As mentioned above, it is impossible to predict an employee’s reaction to the news. There is a possibility of an escalated situation even for the calmest personalities. Thus, it is recommended to have a witness in the room during your conversation.
You should use another manager as a witness because of their experience. They will catch the early signs of escalating situations to take control of the conversation. Also, they may suggest some changes to your method of breaking the news.
Set the Time and Place
Time and place are extremely important to give the news of unemployment to someone. You cannot expect them to take the news understandingly in a room full of co-workers. Arrange a private meeting to discuss the matter and explain the decision to them.
The weekend is not the right time to share bad news. You can wait for Monday to give them time to settle until Friday. Let them enjoy the weekend or use it to search for a new job instead of processing the news.
Prepare for the Worst
The risk of violence or emotional outbursts is always present while letting the employees go. They might file a lawsuit for wrongful termination or unprofessional behaviour during the meeting. Similarly, there are numerous ways things can go wrong during these conversations.
Therefore, you should prepare for the worst to avoid any damage to the business, infrastructure, or workforce. Take their login credentials from the system before leaving the meeting room. You must remain proactive with preventive measures in the event of a freakout.
An outburst also means they might throw some unprofessional words at you or the business. It is common for the employees to use foul language if you are terminating them for their behaviour. However, you should remain calm during the conversation.
They might say some words just because of the anger without meaning them. Give them some time to process the news and don’t respond to their negative reaction. You should remain empathetic towards them as they are losing their income for an uncertain time.
Listen to the Employees
Many employers don’t want to hear the emotional outburst of the employees. Some even share the news through an email instead of a personal meeting. It is highly insensitive from their side as the people have put at least some effort into your company.
You should listen to their reaction without abrupt interruptions. Let them ask questions about the reasons for the decision to let them go. Make sure they understand not only the reasons but the measures to improve themselves.
In the end, you should ask them for feedback for company culture and management. They might help you find the problems with the hiring or training process. Also, offer them a reference letter if they are leaving because of some business-related crisis.
To sum up, it will remain difficult to break the bad news regardless of your experience as a manager. The emotional outburst is too much to handle for some people. However, you need to remain calm and realistic during the conversation to avoid any dispute.