A man is carrying a box of his belongings while walking out from a workplace.
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15 things you shouldn’t do when letting an employee go

22 Oct 2020

Nervous about having to let a member of your team go? Knowing what to avoid is a great way to prepare.

Letting staff go is probably one of the most challenging things you’ll have to face as a leader. It’s something that can carry a lot of weight for the person affected, for your company’s reputation, and for the morale of your remaining employees.

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In this guest article, leadership coach Shane Cradock shared his tips for getting it right. It’s important that you are clear and decisive in your communication, he said. You owe it to your staff to tell them the real reason they are being let go, and they deserve the opportunity for constructive criticism that could help in their next role.

Cradock also recommended being truthful with the rest of your team but working to regain focus after the process is complete. He said managers need to “balance emotions with process”, particularly during a difficult termination.

Preparation is key here. But to truly prepare, it’s often helpful to be aware of the things you shouldn’t do. Thankfully, Headway Capital has published 15 things to keep in mind before, during and after you let an employee go.

Headway Capital says that good business practice sets a framework for minimising the emotional toll of letting someone go. So, what does that look like? Procrastinating, failing to liaise thoroughly with HR and letting someone go over email are some of the major mistakes leaders can make in this area.

But there are finer nuances to bear in mind, too. The infographic suggests being honest, clear and compassionate.

Of course, most face-to-face meetings have to take place over video at the moment. But that shouldn’t stop you from following procedure and conducting your conversation as professionally as possible.

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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