Script For Terminating an Employee: Everything You Need to Know

Having a script for terminating an employee is imperative for efficient employee termination.

You should first clarify things without small talk: "Joe, we have made the choice to let you go. This will be your last day at work. Thank you for your time and all the work you’ve put in. I would like things to end on friendly terms. There are some logistics that I would like to go over with you. When that is over I will be able to answer all your questions."

You might want to make sure that you deliver the news rapidly and directly. Make sure you fill in whatever kind of pleasantries you feel that are needed.

It is possible that the terminated worker will not hear or believe anything pleasant you say. Here are some things you might want to try:

  • “I really am grateful and appreciate the work you’ve done here,” “I feel like we’re parting on good terms,” etc.
  • You might want to pivot the conversation regarding logistics, which can get rid of some of the pressure on the person to give a response.
  • Worker termination needs be planned carefully, with heavy participation of human resources, if this support is accessible.
  • The accountability for how to fire a worker is the job of the manager and not that of the Human Resource rep.

Deliver the Logistics

For logistics, you must first recognize what corporation property must be given back by the employee (keycard and laptop), have their last paycheck ready, and (typically) propose a separation contract. The separation contract necessitates consideration to be lawful (money), nevertheless attorneys typically only ascribe a nominal amount, such as $500, suggesting how little rank they place on the separation contract.

If you’re thinking about offering severance, then it is necessary to make signing the separation contract an obligation. It’s important to, therefore, prepare for the meeting the day before.

The following is an essential script that you can use to carry the logistics for the termination:

These are the logistics for the process. Today is going to be your last day. You will get your final paycheck, and it will take care of payment through today [give it to them gently]. I also have a separation contract for you. If you authorize the separation contract, I will be able to provide you compensation of $X [make sure you show envelope for that check being issued]. I’d appreciate if you want to look over the agreement. The separation agreement ends in X days [typically 5].

Likewise, would you please leave your keycard and laptop at your desk? There is no more work needed from you today. If you want to take your possessions home right now, that’s okay. I’m going to collect the team after this conference and let them recognize the issue at hand. Or, it is possible for you to return tomorrow morning around 9 a.m., and I’ll assist you with bringing your things to the car. My sentiment is that your sendoff is on good terms with everybody. This is a work day for us; nevertheless, if you desire to reach out to individuals on the team after the work hours, I believe they’d like that. Do you have anything you would like to ask?

You’re essentially working through two logistical matters, getting the departure agreement employed and getting their desk cleaned out; cleaning out the desk is the more expressive of the two, and the individual should be able to do so with self-respect.

Answers to the Questions: Why?

Expectantly, you’ve already made the effort to work through matters with the individual. Therefore, laying them off should not be a surprise. Provided the work you did prior to making the dismissing decision, there’s no definite reason to discuss the purpose of the firing. The firing meeting is not the time or place to provide constructive criticism.

All Other Questions

You may also get questions from the terminated employee such as “Do you know if I’m qualified for unemployment?” A critical script for responding to questions should say that you are not 100 percent certain:

"That’s a good question, and I’m not certain I know the correct answer. Why don’t you speak to Human Resources? Here is their contact information."

Dealing With Anger

A easy script for how to reply if someone is angry:

"There’s no need for that. I enjoyed working with you and wish you well in the future."

Managers' Avoidance Tactics

If the purpose is critical to the corporation’s process, the administrator may have to put off the termination until a new worker can fill the key opening. It’s also likely that the manager, with help from other workers in the department, will be able to carry the load until full recruitment is attained. The condition could well be a chance to see if there’s a better, more cost-effective way of presenting the functions of the departing worker.

If a worker’s not performing up to the norm, his or her co-workers recognize it. Co-employees may be speculating why the underperforming person is still around and may be offended that they’re satisfying their responsibilities even though the other worker is not.

The longer managers wait before continuing to the actual firing, the more admiration they can lose from other employees. Employees most of the time want to work for supervisors who implement high values evenly, reliably, and rightly.

If the worker at hand possesses good work ethic, along with favorable feelings and disposition, it possibly will be worth a shot to allow him or her a resettlement to a different position. However, workers with arrogance and subpar performance should never be brought in as candidates for reassignment.

‘The Human Resources department can help to organize the right time and conditions to minimize the option of disruptive behavior and position for sufficient security, if the worry is critical enough.

Common Manager Mistakes

An error that managers make is occasionally losing their temper. Workers will be distressed when they hear they’re no longer working, even if they see the news is coming. So, it’s up to managers to evade heightening an already-emotional situation. It’s probable the boss and the worker have been at odds for some time and there’s a great deal of pent-up sentiment on all sides.

Managers should let workers give their side of the story, short of remark, and then resolutely and graciously say the conversation is done.

The decision to lay a person off has been made, and it should be the end of it.

Topics the Manager Will not Want to Discuss

No termination – or any contact with workers, for that matter – is totally cut and dried. The worker will perhaps have at least one issue he or she can bring up to contradict the business’s decision, and managers should be prepared to cut off those discussions.

Occasionally, bosses try to soften the blow when dismissing a worker. Managers often do feel compassion for the individual they must fire.

If a worker’s being fired for inferior performance, the boss shouldn’t propose regret on any aspect of his execution.

A Sample Script for Terminating an Employee

One good sample of a properly handled termination discussion:

Boss: Bob, I’ve asked you to meet with the Human Resource director and me today since, as you’ve been aware that for some time now, we are not content with the value of your work.

We’ve talked with you many times over the past few months, identifying the parts needing improvement. Regrettably, we were not able to see the improvement we were hoping to.

With that being said, we have decided to end your time with us here.

Bob: So, I’m being fired?

Manager: That’s correct. We’ve tried to provide you a chance to expand. We gave you a minimum of two written warnings and several verbal notices. Nevertheless, you didn’t make the type of improvement that we needed to see.

Bob: Let me just say one thing. My manager said I did a great job on that project we ended the previous month.

Manager: I’m not ready to discuss your work record at the time, Bob. I’m sorry, nevertheless our decisions are made.

Bob: So, you’re getting rid of me but you’re going to keep that idiot Kenny? He’s surely screwed up a whole lot more than I have. Why are you not firing him?

Manager: Bob, we’re not going to talk about any other employee. We’re here to talk about your work only. And we’ve decided it’s no longer satisfactory.

Bob: A couple of months ago, I stated I might be interested in another task, and you said then it might be probable. What about that? Could I get a transfer to another job?

Manager: Bob, I apologize. We all are fond of you here. Nevertheless, it’s time to go on. At our corporation, we don’t take this kind of situation lightly. This is not an easy decision for any one of us. Nonetheless, the choice has been made and cannot be undone. We do wish you the best.

The 10-Minute Firing Script

The difficult planning that precedes letting an employee go can be defined with the following:

  • Setting projections
  • Presenting a rationalized policy guide
  • Coming up with a consistent discipline strategy, etc.

The definite implementation — the definite act of firing the employee — is what really tests you as a business proprietor, as a leader.

Make sure that you understand the do’s and don’ts. Be prepared for all the “what if’s” in this painful circumstance so you can swiftly terminate a worker with confidence.

If you need help terminating an employee, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top five percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and have an average of 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.