Connect with HR
Human resources is an important connection to make before starting the process of termination for an employee. It is important that you know your company's policies regarding terminating an employee so that you will have a legal and ethical standing that you can support should you be challenged on the grounds of the termination.
Make sure you and the HR department have tried to remedy the situation in ways other than termination. In most cases, it is considered best practice that you attempt to solve the problem first in other ways before going straight to termination. Make it the last option.
Schedule a meeting
Once you are sure you have your thoughts together, you should schedule a meeting with the person you are terminating. Make sure the meeting is in a private setting so that other employees cannot overhear the reason for termination or any other information. An HR employee may sit in, but unless other key administrators or supervisors have an interest in and want to be a part of the meeting, no one else should attend.
Sometimes it's best to turn it over to the HR manager to explain the reasons for termination. Then you can ask the person if they have any questions or if they wish to make a statement.
Preparation is key to a termination meeting in order to make sure you have covered all of the legal bases. You will want to familiarize yourself with all of the legal and ethical issues surrounding termination in case you are challenged. If the person tries to claim that you are discriminating against them for some reason, you need to show them specific reasons for why you are letting them go to disprove any kind of maltreatment.
When someone is being fired, they are not going to be in the best mood. Some cry and some turn their anger on you or the person delivering the message. Remind them that you must put your company's reputation and revenue first and that the decision was something you thought through carefully before you came to this decision.
If you have copies of previous meetings you had with the employee regarding the things you reprimanded them for, bring these to the meeting. It may not always be necessary to bring them out. But if the employee becomes angry or says you are not treating them fairly, you can produce these documents or logs as needed.
Deliver the news
There's nothing good about being fired. It can be a dark moment in a person's life when they get fired, as they’re losing a source of income and stability. Remember that you are delivering news that may potentially devastate someone. You are doing what is best for your company, but it will still hit someone hard. Try to keep the actual termination meeting to less than 10 minutes.
Keeping emotion out of it, directly address why your company cannot keep them onboard. Make what you tell them a learning experience, if possible, so that they won't make similar mistakes in the future. Offer to give them a recommendation on their good points, if you think you can honestly do so.
Discuss the next steps in the process
Ask the person you are firing if they have any questions, then explain the next steps in the process. Explain to them how you will handle their last paycheck, when they will receive it, and discuss any severance pay packages. If they have an office, give them a reasonable time to have their office cleaned out and wish them the best in the future.
Consider performing at least one act of kindness, such as asking them if you can help them arrange interviews with hiring services or other agencies. This is why many companies offer a severance package, so that the employee will not leave with nothing and you are communicating that their employment was not for nothing, that they offered a great deal of value in the past, but that now you must go your separate ways.