What’s the best and easiest way to let employees go?

Friday August 9 2019

Caroline Mboijana

Caroline Mboijana 

By Caroline Mboijana

Every time I terminate one of my staff’s contracts, they get personal and tell me about their family obligations. These conversations usually end up with me rescinding the termination. What’s the best and easiest way to let employees go? P.K

Dear P.K,
Terminating a member of staff is not easy and your struggles with following through are typical. A critical point to note, is that the final decision to terminate is rarely made by one person but includes the participation of the human resources and legal teams. Their role is to determine whether due process has been followed, while protecting you and the organisation from potential litigation; and that fairness has been accorded to the staff member.

In the first instance, grounds for termination must be obvious, i.e. the staff member has been found guilty of breaching the organisation’s code of conduct, the terms and conditions of their contract, and/or has failed to perform their duties.

In all these cases, there is a process that must be followed in investigating, addressing, or solving the matter. Additionally, there must be evidence of the breach and the entire process must be documented.

Unless the breach falls under summary dismissal, staff are always given the benefit of doubt. If it is the first occurrence of misconduct or poor performance, they should be given an opportunity to reform. It is rare to dismiss on a first-time offence, but more probable on a repeat offence or when there has been a lack of improvement.

When you have evidence of a personal track record, you are in a better position to manage the implementation. It is a difficult one, but remember that it is your responsibility to manage the indiscipline and poor performance of your team.


Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)