Letting an Employee go

As a HR Practitioner, you definitely have found yourself in a position where you have had to terminate or summarily dismiss an employee or probably declare their positions redundant.

Contrary to the popular belief that HRPs are heartless people, the process of relieving an employee from their duties is actually very tasking. It takes courage and heart. Sometimes it weighs so heavily on your soul that you literally have to go down on your knees to ask God for grace.

Over the years of my practice, I have relieved very many people from work. Some have been very easy while others not quite. One, because I know these guys are good people who just made a terrible mistake and secondly because I’m only human. The process of starting over for an employee who has been let go is never easy and most especially when they have a family to take care of.

In my own opinion, it is always very important to remain as truthful and factual as possible with an employee. Be very specific about your reasons; don’t say too much that could be used against you or too little that leaves the employee wondering what they did wrong. The ‘you are fired, pack your things and leave’ is quite unfair and unprofessional. Most importantly, ensure that the due process has been followed.

Regardless of how we are separating, we must do so respectfully because at the end of the day, you are dealing with a human being and loosing your source of income isn’t usually easy to accept. Sometimes it’s never black and white though, it can be dramatic. There was actually one instance where after dismissing a staff, she stripped down and started walking out of my office almost naked. My horrified office mate rushed to close the door while I just sat there thinking to myself like, ‘really?’.

I however always believe that every relationship has an ending, the only question is, will it end quietly or publicly. Which ever the case, every HRP must always be prepared.


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