Employee De-Hiring Process

To De-Hire and employee with minimum disruption in the workflow and environment.

No caring person really wants to have to do this but unfortunately, its presence in your business is necessary since employee terminations tend to be unnecessarily painful and messy.

If this system might appear a bit clinical and bloodless at times, remind yourself that terminations are sensitive events, which require the most careful orchestration. Injured feelings, bruised self-perceptions, hostility, and resentment are inevitable; worse yet, they can draw you into pointless confrontations that do nothing constructive for the parties involved.


Once you have decided to terminate someone, you will obviously pick a date for the act (#1). Fridays are frequently selected because few people work late on that day. (It is important to have a few people as possible on the premises while this takes place.) Another consideration is the pay period. Terminating someone on the day a pay period ends usually eliminates the need to carry the person on the books for an additional period.

#2 involves the preparation of materials.

You should have the employees paycheck prepared in the full amount that is owed him or her, including not only wages, but payment for any accrued vacation days (that were not taken), accrued bonuses, commissions and, if it is your company s policy, severance pay. Remember, if your published policy is to pay two weeks severance, it does not mean that you must allow the person to remain on the premises for that period of time. It does mean, however, that you are legally and morally obligated to pay him or her for those two weeks.

In some companies, governmental contracts require that certain security documents must be prepared and executed at the time of termination. Furthermore, your employment agreement might make it necessary for you to provide notice of termination in writing. In short, whatever documentation is needed to effect a termination properly, should all be fully prepared prior to the meeting to avoid confusion as well as unnecessary contact with the employee.


If you have any reason to believe that the individual will leave work early that day, approach him or her earlier in the day and express your desire to meet just after quitting time. Do not announce the purpose of the meeting!

This should happen as quickly as possible since almost nothing constructive can ever be achieved. Therefore, the moment the employee enters your office (if you have no office, select a private area) and is seated, you should announce in your calmest, most non-threatening voice: “Things just aren’t working out; so, I’ve decided to terminate our relationship. This is not a reflection on you in any way. In fact, I hope that we can part friends.”

This is not the time to inform the subordinate of the reasons for the termination since his or her mind is not going to be in a receptive mode anyway. Anything you say of a critical nature will most likely be rejected and counterattacked. On some occasions, the subordinate will engage in a restrained type of pleading by promising to correct the mistakes and/or misbehavior, but such a reaction is rare. Besides, once you have made your decision, go with your original conclusion no matter how you may feel at the moment of termination.

Anticipate some degree of hostility, even though it will not occur in many cases. The employee’s mind will usually transfer the blame onto you since it cannot come to terms with the realization that it failed. Consequently, you will be accused of several infractions and injustices, ranging from poor management to an inadequate training program. While you should listen for any feedback that might help future conditions, keep in mind that you did your best and, more importantly, that you, like most managers, give your employees far too many chances. In fact, the individual probably should have been terminated long ago.

For that reason, you should not take much, if any, of the counterattack very seriously, especially when you remember that the average employee will only point out deficiencies at the time of termination. That fact is very revealing, for it demands an answer to the question, “Why didn’t you tell me all this before?”. Although you will not answer the question, the answer is that the employee didn’t care until this moment!

It is pointless for you to answer the charges. Instead, you should permit the subordinate to go on for a short period of time; then, interrupt the counterattack with the words, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I thank you for your comments and wish you the best of luck.”

At this juncture, move the process along by issuing the check and getting any necessary papers signed. Incidentally, should the former employee not react after you have made your initial statement, proceed immediately to this phase, without pause. Remember, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by prolonging the meeting.


Before he or she leaves the premises, accompany the former employee to his or her work station to collect every last piece of company property (#4). At the same time, they should remove all personal possessions, so there is absolutely no reason for returning to the premises at a later date. The break should be clean, quick, thorough and final.

Therefore, make sure you collect everything — files, incomplete work, keys, whatever.

Then, escort the individual to the front door to assure that there is no conversation with anyone who might still be at work (#5). If you implement the process in that manner, you will have put into practice a critically important principle of terminations: GET THE EMPLOYEE OFF THE PREMISES AS QUICKLY AS IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!

It is foolish to terminate someone and then allow that person to remain at work for any significant period of time. During the termination period, the person will feel the need to explain the event to his or her coworkers, which will almost inevitably lead to severe distortions of the truth. In fact, you should not be surprised if you hear rumors to the effect that the employee resigned; that he or she is moving to a better job; that anyone who remains with the company is an exploited fool; and, even that you begged him or her to stay! It is the subordinate’s way of escaping the embarrassment and rejection of termination. While that may be understandable, it is terribly destructive.

#6 & #7


You must then prepare a memorandum, announcing the termination and place a copy of it at everyone’s work station before he or she arrives for work the following morning (#6).

The memorandum should not criticize the terminated party unless you wish to make an important point with those who remain. For example, it is perfectly legitimate, and even advisable, to point out that someone was terminated for frequent violations of such standards and policies as dress codes, personal comportment, line relationships, failure to report the status of work on the required due dates, etc If the issue was simple incompetence or a matter of purely private concern (e.g., chronic drunkenness, emotional dysfunction, and so on), the reason would be better left unexpressed.

Also prior to the following morning, you should remove from the premises any and all reminders of the individual’s presence (#7). This includes photographs, memoranda posted on the bulletin boards and the like. It is imperative that everyone literally forget that the person ever existed! A termination will produce grief in the unconscious minds of the remaining personnel just as if a loved one had died. Although they will normally not be aware of it on the conscious level, the “survivors” might even become unproductive for several days in the wake of the shock unless the departed employee was universally disliked.