How to fire an employee, the ultimate 2022 guide

Firing an employee is a difficult but often necessary reality virtually every employers must face. Terminating someone’s appointment might seem mentally overwhelming especially because you, the employer, will feel like the bad guy.

How to Fire an Employee

But you don’t have to always feel like the bad guy because, in most cases, taking that difficult decision to fire an employee is just absolutely necessary.

There are several reasons employees could be laid off or fired: ranging from lateness to work, lackadaisical attitude to important activities, incompetence, indiscipline and disrespect, violation of code of conducts, etc.

All these are often reasons why an employee needs to be laid off. However, the very process of laying off an employee might come off as difficult to some people. That is why we decided to write this article. Welcome to the ultimate 2022 guide on how to fire an employee.

How to fire an employee: tips and guide

In this article, I have carefully prepared tips that you, an employer, would find useful when you wish to take that step and finally terminate the appointment of that employee that drives you mad.

These tips would help you eliminate guilt and would equip you with the necessary professionalism you wish to exude when you hit the nail on the head. Here we go:

1. Review your Employee Handbook

It is necessary for every employer to have what is called an employee handbook. The purpose of this is to have a “book of commandments” that can guide the employer on the do’s and dont’s of your business.

In the employee handbook, you should state very clearly the disciplinary policies that would be taken if the employee violates what is written in the handbook. Of course, termination of their appointment should be one of this disciplinary policies (write the rules as you see fit). 

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Ensure that every new and old employee has access to this handbook so that they may not feign ignorance when they commit unpardonable wrong.

Before you start the process of firing the previously identified employee, review the handbook and follow strictly the rules you have highlighted in it.

2. Investigate Grounds for Termination

For every action, there must be a reason or prompting. In the case of employment termination, you must have a case against the unfortunate employee.

If you feel it’s time to fire the individual, investigate the situation and collect evidences or documents you can use in the process of firing the individual. Remember, the more evidences you have of the individual’s misconduct, the more easier it is to fire them.

3. Plan what you’ll say and follow Due Procedures

There are two ways to fire an employee: by communicating your decision to them through non-physical means like text, letters or the likes and by doing same in person. The best way is to however do so in person, that is: physically.

Meeting them physically to communicate your decision is however often a daunting task for most employers which is why many shy away from this. However, it is doesn’t have to be that way.

Since you will be telling them in person, prepare ahead. Think thoroughly on what you’ll say and what possible questions the individual might ask. Prepare answers ahead so you won’t be caught off guard by a question you have not prepared answer for.

A good way of knowing what questions or reactions you will get from the employee is to put yourself in their shoes. That way, you will be able to tackle any questions directed your way.

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4. Be Clear and Concise

You would want to give the best impression of yourself when you sit yourself down to tell the employee of his or her employment termination. This is why you need to communicate your decision as clearly as possible.

Communicate your decision with a straight face and separate emotions from your speech. Do not appear too sympathetic or you might be cajoled to rescind your decision.

Prepare facts and evidences ahead so that the individual would not have too much to say beside accepting the decision you have made.

5. Understand how you feel about the decision and keep it in check

Do I really want to fire this employee“, ask yourself this question repeatedly until you have a “yes” 100% of the time. This is very important.

Take time to reflect and process your thoughts and feelings about the decision you have taken. If possible, write down your thoughts. Trust me, it helps.

6. Break the Ice

In one or two concise and short sentences, state the reason(s) for the termination of the individual’s employment.

Use the past tense. Say, “Your employment has been terminated,” not, “will be terminated.” For example:

“As you know, Philip, we’ve talked several times about quality problems in your unit. The report that came in from last month indicates that your department still has the lowest quality index.

We have decided that a change must be made, and as of today your employment has been terminated.”

8. Give the Employee Space to Speak

As humans, unfortunate news like the sort you have just delivered would evoke reactions from them. In this case, the most common are SADG: Shock, Anger, Denial and Grief.

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It is important that you give the employee time to express whichever emotion he or she feels at that point.  Your response will be more effective if you know how he or she is taking the news.

9. Cover Everything Important

Explain how everything post employment termination will be like: cover everything from Pay, benefits, unused vacation time, references, outplacement, explanations to coworkers, ongoing projects, etc. 

Make sure you have prepared the details of this ahead as it would not be professional to say you’ll get back to him or her.

10. Wrap it up

The best time to schedule the termination meeting is at the end of the workday. This way the employee can avoid shame and leave the premises under the guise that he or she is going home.

End the meeting by thanking the individual for his or her contribution to the growth of the company. Walk the individual to his or her desk and wait for him or her to collect her things from her desk. Exit the building together, shake hands and wish him or her luck as you both part.


That is how to fire an employee in the not professional way. If you follow this guide closely, you won’t have any problems and would feel the littlest of guilt from the whole process. 

Thank you for reading. Please share this article and check out other interesting articles in this blog. See you on our next blog post.

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