The guide for newbie HR’s to handle employee terminations gracefully

Every job has its own challenges to handle likewise for an HR professional, ‘termination of an employee’ is one as such and it is certainly not so comfortable.


Sujatha Gollapalli

3 years ago | 3 min read

Every job has its own challenges to handle likewise for an HR professional, ‘termination of an employee’ is one as such and it is certainly not so comfortable. Needless to put, termination is the last option for any employer and it is the toughest decision for the employer and the people involved in the termination decision too. The decision would certainly be taken after considering all the possibilities to let the employee retain. So once after the decision is taken HR professional should handle it gracefully.

Image Source: Google
Image Source: Google

It is the company HR professionals who should handle the employee and reveal the news. I bet you it is not as easier as it sounds yet if not handled gracefully it might create an impact on the overall organization’s morale.

Are you worried about handling employee terminations? Only a leader can handle it keeping aside all the emotions running knowing that the situation is ineluctable. Here is my personal guide that I follow during employee terminations.


Firstly ensure that the termination is valid and then dig further into it and gather all the details pertaining to the employee termination and make sure that termination is a fair process. Maintain clarity in the decision taken and let the employee sink in with the decision taken. Prepare all the relevant documents beforehand and keep them ready. Once the employee is in the meeting room don’t juggle here and there as you are revealing some sensitive details.

Make sure that everything is documented and you have a written proof to whosoever discussed and communicated. It is always suggested to have a witness with you during employee terminations.


It is a painful moment for the employee as he will be jobless until he finds the next one. Educate the employee with the reason for termination and if required show some supporting documents to justify your statement. Communicate effectively and clearly which should help the employee not to commit the same mistakes in his next job.

Don’t be too harsh yet counsel the employee. Furthermore, you can provide details of his performance statistics, the number of warning letters issued for performance improvement, and PIP’s. Nonetheless, to mention, employee termination pattern should be followed and a sudden termination should not take place without issuing a warning letter except in unavoidable situations.


Be gentle with the employee and try to have a minimalistic conversation as much as you can. Let the employee speak if he has to, however, let the employee understand that the decision is final. Make sure that the conversation is not going too personal as the employee might be emotionally unstable.

The employee might probe you with many questions make sure you have an answer and put them straight and real in the correct tone. The ideal termination meeting duration is 10 – 15 minutes.

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This should be a sign of relief to the employee. Doing it, in the end, will let them employee leave the office with a sign of hope. Discuss regarding the severance package employee is eligible for as most companies provide employees unemployment compensation, leaves encashment and other statutory benefits. Make sure that the employee gets all the benefits he is eligible for.

Spread some love – As the employee is leaving the company it is not required to be harsh and blunt. With the right approach, we can make the situation easier for both parties. Discuss and guide him on job search, how a slight change in attitude would help him to reach greater heights, areas of improvement. Eventually, you need to boost some morale to keep up his spirits high.

Image Source: Google
Image Source: Google


Gently ask the employee to submit all the company belongings like desk keys, office laptops, company identity cards, etc. Soon after the employee leaves the company, make sure to revoke all his access to the work area, emails and other company-related access without any further delay.

If required reveal the news to the team and put a break to unnecessary gossiping that goes around soon after employee termination.

Dreadful employee terminations should be handled rightly as it is inevitable yet by the clarity of speech and the right use of encouraging words can help the employee to leave on a positive note.

The irony is that other employees in the organization consider HR as the key person in terminating an employee and glare some fiery looks at you. So as an HR you need to conquer the fear of employee terminations and stay positive and be a better HR Manager.


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Sujatha Gollapalli

Sujatha is an HR by profession and a writer by passion. She believes that writing is all about articulation of thoughts and enjoys penning down. She counts on being content with life and leading a healthy lifestyle.







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