There are three important things to think about as a manager before you have to let someone go from your organization. It's a very difficult thing to have to deliver that message of, "You're no longer part of this company." But as a manager, you can prepare effectively by thinking about these three key things.
The first is to expect emotional reactions. This is a very difficult message for the employee to hear. It's never an easy situation. As a manager, you should assume that you're going to experience emotional reactions from your people. As a manager, what you can do to prepare for that is to think about each of your individual employees and how they've reacted to emotional situations in the past. You can then assume that they may act similarly in this emotional situation. Now that being said, we never know what's going to happen when it comes to delivering that kind of message. Someone can react totally differently than you expect. If you take the time to think about each of those employees and how they might react, you will feel more prepared going into those conversations.
The second thing to think about is knowing the right phrases to say. When it comes to delivering this message there are things that will help make the message go through smoothly and things that will hinder that process. One of the best phrases that you can say throughout the message is, "I know this is difficult news to hear." Saying that conveys a sense of empathy, a sense of understanding, but it doesn't commiserate with the employee or go down a negative train of thought. If you say something like, "You have every right to feel how you do, I totally understand, I would be upset too." That can tend to bring the conversation down a negative path which you want to avoid. By saying something such as, "I know this is difficult news to hear," you're keeping things focused. You're conveying empathy to the employee, but you're not going down sort of these alternative paths which aren't going to help the conversation be effective.
The third thing that you want to think about is training your managers. We assume that HR professionals and managers know how to handle these conversations, but the fact of the matter is many have not done this before in their career. This may be the first time that they're going about doing this. As leaders within your organization, it's important to provide the proper training to them so that they can go into these conversations with confidence and know that they know exactly how to handle it, how to handle anything that might come up, and how to move forward from it from there. So training is a critical process when it comes to an effective notification event and moving on from that event in the future.
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