How To Fire an Employee Gracefully

– Hi there, I’m Dan Martell.
Serial entrepreneur, investor and creator of SaaS Academy. This video I’m gonna share
with you how to fire an employee gracefully without feeling
horrible but do it in a way that gets the job done,
makes sure that you’re clear and there’s no
misunderstandings. And be sure to stay to the
end where I share with you a framework called The Weekly
Sync which would probably have allowed you to
identify and support that employee a lot quicker. Maybe they were still gonna go
but this structure of a weekly meeting format will
really get you clear. I’ll share with you
how to get that at the end. (upbeat music) So I have a belief that
it’s hire slow, fire fast. That doesn’t mean that I sit
there and I drag my feet as I’m building a people plan
and trying to hire talent. I do have a talent pipeline
structure that I’m going to teach in a future video but the
whole idea is that there’s a lot of hoops that people need to
go through to make sure that they’re the right
fit for your team. But after all of that,
after personality assessments, video submissions,
test projects, all that stuff you
can still get somebody that’s just an underperformer. They might have started as
a rock star and then slowly degraded over time for whatever
reasons and those are the situations where you’ve
got to act and you gotta let them move on. You know, I had an employee
she worked in my community management department and she was incredible. She had all the drive,
she got it, she wanted to,
she had the capabilities. She was amazing, great culture and just continuously
made mistake. Continually made mistakes and
I’m gonna walk you through the process that I used to not only
let her go but to make sure that she never felt
like it blindsided her. I think that there’s,
if you do things right, my belief is if you have
somebody is underperforming and you know, right,
here’s a great question. If I fired everybody that
worked for you right now and in three months,
three months down the road I gave you permission
to hire them back who would you
enthusiastically hire back? That’s the question that
gonna get you clear on who makes that list. So if you do
it right though they’re not going
to feel blindsided. It’s not going to have an impact
to your business and it’s going to make you feel
good about the outcome because here’s what I believe. They will never be a star in
your business today but they could be an incredible
resource at another company, at the right company, but you
holding them back from even discovering that isn’t
fair to you or your team. So here are the five things, the five steps in letting
somebody go gracefully. Number one, prep the accounts. This means looking at the
body of work they’re working on, all the different logins,
all the different accounts, all the different team members that they’ve been
interacting with. All the different projects
they’ve been accountable for and audit that. Make sure that you have a clear
understanding that if they move on that you’ve already thought
through all the different levels of access they had. You may not even have the
password for certain accounts. You may not even know the name
of a vendor that they’ve been working with to get a certain
project completed so you want to do a quick audit and prep all
the accounts and make sure that you have a hit list that as soon
as you have that conversation with them that you’ve got an
action plan to transition work and/or migrate
accounts to somebody else. Number two,
schedule the sit down. This to me is
the most important. If you’re going
to let somebody go, especially if they’ve
been with you for a while, you owe them the courtesy
of sitting down eye to eye. You want to look at
them and let them know, “Hey, this is where we’re at.
This is what’s happening.” Don’t do it over email. Definitely, I mean video if you
have to but at the end of the day I just think if somebody has
been giving you their work and you’ve been working
with them on a team, it is your responsibility to
sit down with them and have that conversation person to person.
Doesn’t have to be long. It should actually be short
but do that and schedule it. Number three,
this is not a discussion. I think the biggest mistake
that people make when they let somebody go is they say,
“Hey, here’s how I’m feeling. “And it’s just not
working out for me. “How do you feel?” And then all of a
sudden they’re saying, “Well, things are going great.
I don’t understand. “I know that I haven’t been hit
my numbers and I know things are “going a little tough
but what do you mean? “What are you
trying to say right now?” And then all of a sudden it
turns into this crazy discussion about, “Well yeah,
it’s not my fault. “You didn’t do this and you said
this would happen and then all “of a sudden I had to
do all this extra work,” and it’s like
whoa, whoa, whoa. At the end of the day
it’s not a discussion. It’s very clear sit down let
them know your position is no longer available
at this company. Today is your last day. Here’s what’s
going to happen next. I just wanna let you know how
much we appreciate the time that you’ve given to the
company and the organization and we wish you all the best. If you can support us in the
transition I’d love to write you a recommendation to the next
role ’cause a lot of times the person is actually talented. These are the toughest
ones but this is to me the way I’ve seen it. They’re talented they’re
just not going to work for you. I mean if you run a high
performing SaaS environment, a team, a high performing team
there’s a lot of people that’d be rock stars at other companies
because they’re just not as demanding and they don’t have as
high of a need and the quality of work is just not where you
need it and you could refer them to somebody else and be
totally authentic about that. So I always like to
just let them know like, “Hey, this is not a discussion.
Today’s your last day. “If you help us
with the transition, “here’s what we can do
to support you in that.” And if they want
to play ball, good. If not, that’s ok.
You execute the transition plan. Number four, remove access. This is probably the biggest
pain that shows up after you’ve let somebody go is when you
didn’t have a plan to remove access to certain logins to
accounts, to information. I’ve seen situations with
clients that I coach where you know a key staff, VP of sales
takes off and takes their whole account database with them.
Their customer list. I mean these are just challenges
that you don’t need if you’re just prepped and you do it. So if you do all the prepping
the account at the beginning and then you have the list
of projects that need to be transition or access, et cetera and you make sure
that all the logins are reset. The emails are redirected to
the right people so nothing gets dropped then it’s
actually really straightforward. It might take a couple hours
of work but then it’s done. And ideally you do
it during the meeting. Have somebody on your
team in your administrative, your admin team, execute the resetting of the passwords and the authentication and the
redirecting of who owns what assets and documents while
you’re having that discussion let them go so that
way when they’re done, everything is done. If they need access from you
to something that was personal, they can ask for it. You can get it for
them on their behalf and that’s the way
I deal with that. Number five,
communicate the reason. I think this is probably the
thing that’s going to hurt businesses the most
because you’re so into it. As the founder, as the leader,
you’re so into the person and where they’ve fallen short and
your frustrations that you don’t realize that from
everybody else’s perspective, they looked like they
were doing a good job. Yeah, they weren’t, you know, as
active in meetings and you know always showing up for the team
outings and all that stuff but, man, firing them,
that might seem a little, a little bit much
for a lot of people. They might actually just
like totally disagree with your decision and if you
don’t communicate to the team, if you don’t take the time to
set up a quick 15 minute call with your team,
send out an email, let them know the
reasons and, for me, map them back to the values. To me we hire and fire
against values and as we’re communicating why that person is
no longer on the team we have to map it back to these are
the things that we expect of everybody on our team including
myself and when they’re not being followed or they’re not
being done at the level that we require then unfortunately that
role is no longer available for that person in our company. They’re gonna go on do amazing
stuff and we’re going to find somebody incredible to backfill
and take that position over. So just make sure that you
communicate with the rest of the team and you don’t leave it this
open-ended what happened to that person because how
you treat that person, I call them alumni, how you
treat somebody that’s no longer with your company is going to
have a huge impact on how people show up on a day-to-day basis
’cause they don’t want to feel like as soon as they’re no
longer part of the organization you’re going to
talk crap about them, you’re gonna blame
them for everything, that’s not what
I’m talking about. I’m just talking about just
being upfront letting people know where the performance fell
short and it’s totally cool. They’re going to be awesome and you’re gonna support
them in that transition. So five steps to fire
an employee gracefully. Number one, prep the accounts so
you know what projects they are working on and who needs
to be transitioned access. Number two,
schedule the sit down. Do it face to face. Number three, not a discussion. It’s not sitting there
as a performance review. That is the decision
that’s been made. They’re moving on. Number four, while you’re
having the meeting, remove access so
that that way it’s clean, it’s done, there’s no questions. They need something,
they can always ask. And number five, communicate
the reason to the team so that everybody’s clear
where that person fell short. So that is how you fire
somebody gracefully from your organization but at the
beginning I mentioned an incredible resource called
The Weekly Sync that allow you to get clear with your team on
who’s doing what and what big rocks they need to move forward. To grab your copy, click the
link below and download that. It has the agenda structure that
I use on a weekly basis to build and maintain and train
my high performing team. So my favorite parts of that is
the big rocks and the scorecard so you can get a
copy with the link. Click to that below, get your
copy and if you’ll like this video be sure to
click the like button. Subscribe to my channel and if
there’s somebody you care about that you think this could serve, feel free to share
it with them directly. As per usual,
I want to challenge you to live a bigger life
and a bigger business and I’ll see you next Monday. “Yo, you’re fired!” That’s what you
don’t want to do. “You’re fired,
you’re fired, you’re fired.”

5 thoughts on “How To Fire an Employee Gracefully

  1. Need to fire an underperforming employee? Take these 5 steps to make the transition as frictionless as possible for you, your team and your customers.

  2. In my last business, I had to fire several times. Each time, I made sure to get whatever info I needed (such as accounts) at least a week or so before I let them go. Without fail, each of them would ask me if something was up and if they should be worried. How would you respond to an employee who's asking if you're planning to let them go but you're not yet ready to do it?

  3. Right on point. The hire slow, fire fast mentality is powerful in business.
    I think #3 is the most powerful valuable piece of advice, especially for newer managers. If it turns into a discussion, there is a risk of keeping an underperformer employed longer.

  4. “Fuck u pussy! Get out ur fuckin fired” -me every time.

  5. Thank you I needed the extra guidance… first time having to fire someone in a managerial position.

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