HR debate: What’s the right way to fire someone?

No one wants to hear “You’re fired.” This was even more evident in February, when a worker who’d just been let go killed five co-workers at a factory in Aurora, IL.

Of course, this situation is rare, but the incident has prompted HR pros to re-evaluate their policies as reported in The Wall Street Journal.

Is Friday the best day?

There’s a lot of debate over the right way to let someone go, but HR pros are crystal clear on the following:

Rethink Friday firings. Even though end-of-week firings have long been accepted, this gives the worker all weekend to stew, says Jobvite Chief People Officer Rachel Bitte. She prefers Tuesday through Thursday, so the person has time to follow up about benefits or contact other firms.

Have empathy. “You have to be compassionate,” says Beth Steinberg at HR firm Zenefits. Can you assist them in finding another job? Offer outplacement services?

In contentious situations, she’ll give out her phone number so they can call or text with questions. Or she refers them to resources, such as the employee assistance program.

Maintain benefits. It may seem counterintuitive to continue (or even extend) their benefits, but the goal’s to keep their self-esteem intact.

Lynn Cavanaugh
Lynn, a member of the HRMorning staff, is an award-winning editor who writes about HR, benefits and compensation topics. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Woman’s Own and American Woman magazines.