Human Resources News & Insights

Termination talk: 6 ways to ease the pain for both parties

Let’s face it. Overall, being in HR is great. But it comes with one major drawback: having to be the one to tell people they’ve lost their jobs. Sure, it’s hard on the people across from you, but it’s also hard on you. 

One of the best ways to ease the pain? Treat it like removing a Band-Aid – take quick and direct action.

Of course, that doesn’t mean going in with a cold, robotic-like demeanor and delivering the bad news in one swift stroke. Although the goal is to get it over with, it still requires a great deal of tact — if both parties aren’t to leave the room feeling as horrible possible.

Ease the confrontation

To make the process less confrontational and mentally draining, executive coach Henna Inam of the firm Transformational Leadership offered up some tips on Forbes.com to help you get through this difficult task.

Here’s her advice in a nutshell:

  • Get talking points. Talk to management about the restructure and why it’s taking place. This will help you explain why the person’s being let go.
  • Prep mentally and physically. Run through your talking points with a trusted advisor. Then, visualize how you’d like the final discussion to play out. This is a trick athletes use before events.
  • Relax. This is easier said than done. But remember this: When you’re relaxed, those around you are more relaxed. So take a few deep breaths and try to remain centered emotionally.
  • Project confident body language. Keep your spine straight with your shoulders back, and maintain eye contact. This communicates confidence and compassion, says Inam.
  • Tune in to their emotions. Listen to the worker’s frustrations and let the person know you understand his or her feelings.
  • Reflect. Later, look back on the discussion and try to learn from what you did right and wrong.
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