When letting someone go from your company, do it with compassionate respect, express sorrow over the decision, remember the good they have contributed and commit to ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible, writes Liz Kislik. “Hoping for their better future will make you better able to be with them in the present difficult moment,” Kislik writes.
The first time I had to fire someone, I was 22—and I was given no training, instructions, or support. The experience was so upsetting that as soon as the meeting was over, I ran to the restroom and threw up.Although I’ve never actually vomited over a termination again, I’ve felt sick to my stomach every time ever since, and I’ve often been disturbed by it for days both before and after. But I think that’s a good thing.
I remembered that first awful situation today when I read that a number of large tech and financial firms have recently cut staff or are planning to do so by the end of this year (before the holidays!?!) or early next year. These mass terminations, according to the article, are being treated as a “business issue.
” This doesn’t take into account the high level of human casualty that can occur when groups of people are let go at once and the cuts are treated as a structural process rather than a person-to-person interaction.
How Would You Want to Be Fired?
Terminating someone’s employment should never be taken lightly. It’s perfectly appropriate to feel sickened when you think about what it means to end someone’s daily purpose, compensation, and health insurance—and perhaps even destroy a crucial portion of their identity.
If you don’t feel ill over it, then reflect on how difficult it would be to adjust to that new reality if you were the one being cut.