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Terminating an Employee the Humane Way

Whatever the reason to terminate an employee, the process is often emotionally charged and difficult on a human level. However, it is possible to minimize the damage to the employee's self-esteem. The employee’s dignity must be respected and protected. The employer must ensure that the employee does not feel judged or attacked in their integrity and he has an obligation to do so with respect and empathy.

No matter how many years of experience a manager has, announcing to an employee that he is fired is always difficult. As for the employee, it is a hard blow that can generate different reactions such as shock, distress or even verbal or physical violence. It is necessary to be adequately prepared and to manage the process in a humane way and in the rules of art.


Provide the proper conditions to announce your decision: decide who will be present during the meeting (the manager will usually make the announcement), where the meeting will take place (confidential, intimate space that allows the employee to leave without having to face his colleagues) and when the meeting will take place (avoid Fridays at the end of the day or significant dates for the employee).

Organize a preparation meeting: define each participants’ role, the message to be delivered, the different scenarios and possible reactions, access to psychological support for the employee (on the spot or in the future), as well as documents to be given to the employee.


Communicating the message: The meeting is usually quite brief, but it is the most delicate step in the process. It is better to lead with the bad news while remaining attentive to what the employee has to convey.

Providing documentation and retrieving equipment: In addition to providing the termination letter and other relevant documents, it is recommended that the terminated employee's access to the computer systems be immediately suspended and all equipment belonging to the organization retrieved.


Preparing the announcement: When an employee leaves the organization, he leaves behind professional obligations. A recovery plan must be developed and the announcement, via a communication plan, must be deployed quickly.

Intervening after the announcement: you must be available to answer questions and concerns and be ready to intervene in case of rumours to ensure work climate remains healthy.


An effective review: The goal is to rigorously evaluate and reflect on the organization's processes and practices in order to refine them.


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