How to Handle Letting Employees Go

One of the hardest things you can do as a business manager or owner is letting employees go. It is emotional for everyone involved and can take its toll. So, are some tips for getting it right.

woman signing on white printer paper beside woman about to touch the documents

Consult with a Law Firm Beforehand

You always need a legal reason for firing someone or making redundancies. But of course, you may not be a legal expert or have no experience doing this. And if you get it wrong, you could end up in appeals courts and tribunals, costing time and money. Therefore, it is best to consult with a corporate lawyer before going ahead with any decisions. Even if you know you are right, a legal team can help you solidify your case and ensure there are no or minimal repercussions.

Give Employees the Option to Leave

Whether it is planned redundancy or firing someone for violating terms of employment, it is often a good option to ask them to leave voluntarily. But before this, it might be a good idea to express your concerns about a bad employee, as they may improve. On the redundancy side, voluntary redundancies can make a hard time easier. And some staff might be more than willing to leave if they are nearing retirement age. But the best reason is that this can help avoid a “situation.”

Plan a Day for Letting Employees Go

You need to plan for letting people go. This can be a hard thing to do, and there never really is a good time. Yet studies have shown employees take the news better early in the week and around lunchtime. It helps to prepare what you are going to say to employees but keep it short and concise. This will help them understand the situation easier. But it will also minimize the time you need to spend in a highly emotional conversation that can be nerve-shattering.

Be Honest and Present the Facts

For both redundancy and firing someone, you must always be honest with the facts and detail your legal position for the decision, and inform employees of their legal rights. It helps if you focus on facts from your perspective, and if firing someone, try not to attack them. Human resources are vital here and can offer all the assistance you need. For example, they can provide you with details of the complex severance or redundancy pay system employees need.

Seek Emotional Support

Getting fired or let go is very upsetting for almost any employee. And it is something that can take a while to get over. Not all employees are bad people. But some may just be in a bad place. You can help by offering support services. However, this can also be just as emotional for you. As a manager, letting people go is part of the job, but someone has lost their livelihood. Yet you are human, and you also need support. Guilt, shame, and grief are common after doing so.


Letting employees go comes with senior positions. But you need to handle it correctly. So, consult a lawyer, plan what to say and when, and seek emotional support if you need to.

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