How to Respectfully Let an Employee Go


Construction Staffing

Layoffs are uncomfortable for everyone involved, not just the individual employee being let go. If your construction company has decided to lay off employees or terminate one specific worker, there are steps you can take to be respectful to the worker, as well as keep morale up, especially on a busy or stressful job site.

Ask any manager, and they’ll probably tell you that letting an employee go is one of the most difficult parts of their job. Layoffs are tough when the employee was loyal and productive, but even terminating someone with performance or behavior issues is a challenge, too. Here are a few ways you can let an employee go with respect and dignity.

Allow for goodbyes

You see it in the movies all the time – a fired employee leaves with their head hung in shame, escorted by security out the front door. However, unless safety is a concern, there’s no reason to force the terminated employee out right away. Let them quietly say goodbye to fellow workers, gather up any personal tools or belongings, and leave the site without a scene. Whether they’ve been let go due to downsizing or performance issues, a dignified exit shows you respect the person, not just the position.

Be empathetic, even if they don’t deserve it

Even if you’ve told this employee a hundred times that their behavior will one day get them fired, show some empathy when you terminate their employment.  This kindness and compassion is especially important if uncontrollable factors, like downsizing, cause the layoff. Showing the employee that you are genuinely sorry for their situation can stabilize any inappropriate emotional response the employee might have.

Express your gratitude for the times they did their job well

Give thanks for their service. No matter why you’re letting the worker go, find something positive in their time with you to mention. At some point the employee’s contributions made a difference, so be sure to make note of that. Even if the employee’s overall performance was poor, highlight a few areas where they succeeded. Maybe make note of positive personality traits.

Explain the next steps

If the company will offer severance, explain the package. Let them know when their last day will be, and what will happen in the meantime. Perhaps after the initial conversation, call in an HR representative who can answer specific questions. If the employee was a good one, and this lay off is due to economical reasons, offer to be a reference for their job applications.

Choose the right time

Timing a layoff isn’t just about the employees you’re letting go, but also about the morale building that needs to occur for those remaining. You may think a Friday afternoon is the best time to avoid drama, but it’s not. Talk will happen over the weekend; conversations you won’t be a part of. Be sure you have time to immediately address the concerns of your remaining construction workers.

Since we specialize in construction staffing, CCS Construction Staffing understands the specific issues that plague your company. Our recruiters take a strategic approach to your staffing needs, making sure that your next project has the most qualified candidates. If you need help strengthening your hiring process, contact us today!

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