How to fire an employee – the right way
It sucks when your new hire (or even someone you have worked with for a while) doesn’t fit well with your affiliate. There are some red flags that should arise if your coach isn’t doing a good job. If, after all of the training and time you have invested in your coach, they remain incompetent, tear members down, lack focus or abuse your members in any way you need to take action.
Firing an employee should never be a surprise
You should have been working with them and letting them know where they need to improve all along. If you haven’t been doing this, then you need to start, and give your coach some time to shape up to the standards you are trying to incorporate into your business. Four weeks or so is plenty of time to give them repeated warnings, and to determine if they are serious about improving – give them goals and benchmarks to meet so you both have a detailed understanding on where you stand.
If they aren’t showing significant improvement in that time, its time to seriously think about letting them go, but how you let them go says a lot about you and your business. We suggest following a few common courtesies during the process. First, do it in a quite, neutral place (ie, don’t take them out to lunch or coffee just because you feel awkward about it). Make sure you can have your conversation uninterrupted and have the ability to leave when the conversation is finished.
You never know how a person will react to such news, so I would suggest having someone else present – so that a disgruntled employee can’t come back with any sort of unsubstantiated claims. You should be empathetic, but don’t try to sugar coat it, you don’t want them to get your message confused. Stick to the facts and show the tangible goals that were not met, don’t create a cover story or go off on a tangent to “soften the blow” – be brief and clear.
If your employee refuses to hear your message, stand firm that this decision has been made and is irreversible. You should lay out their options in terms of what benefits will be ending (and when), when they will receive their last paycheck etc. If they have lots of stuff at your affiliate, let them leave and come back to pick it up at a later, planned date, if they would like to.
Protect yourself legally
If you’re not doing it already, be sure to add in clauses to your contracts giving you ownership of any and all company data. Also, keep records of your warning conversations as well as the goals and benchmarks you have set forth, this gives you a paper trail if your employee becomes disgruntled and tries to come after you.
Our last bit of advice, never fire someone on a Friday – wait until Monday.
Next up will be a series on turning walk-ins into long term members!