If you’re a manager or business owner, it’s a question you’re bound to ask yourself eventually. And according to a new survey of human resources experts, the absolute worst way is to go Donald Trump-style, and just say: “You’re fired!” So, here’s what to do instead, to make firing people less traumatic – for you and your employee:

  • Break the bad news yourself. Because when people get fired by someone who’s not their direct manager, they tend to think you didn’t support the decision. So, they’ll come to you anyway, asking you to help them keep their job!
  • Be as specific as possible about why you’re making the move. Experts say the more employees know about why they’re being fired, the less likely they are to accuse you of other motives - like gender or age discrimination.
  • Back up everything you say about the firing IN WRITING. For example: Give information about where an employee can pick up their final paycheck, or sign up for COBRA insurance. The thinking is that firings tend to be emotional and confusing for employees. So, having something in writing will help them process the details once their head’s clearer.
  • Bring a witness. For legal purposes, experts say it’s best to have another manager or HR representative in the room when you let employees go. That’ll help limit the “he-said, she-said” accusations that often lead to lawsuits.
  • Never apologize. Because when you say something like, “I’m sorry, but I have to let you go,” it sends the message that you’re disappointed by the decision, and you might consider changing your mind.

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