Is there a right day to terminate someone?
Not really. No one likes being let go – and most of us equally dislike the act of telling an employee that they no longer have a job. It’s difficult no matter what.
As a general guideline, logic suggests that the best day to terminate a staff member is the day that the final decision has been made. It’s simply more forthright than letting them think their job is safe when all the while you know the axe is coming shortly. Managers rarely regret acting too quickly on a termination, but they have regretted waiting too long.
However, in terms of what day of the week is the kindest (or most efficient) day to let someone go, experts have widely differing opinions. It seems that there are ample reasons to choose any day.
Traditionally, the best day to terminate an employee was mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday). This allowed the employee to launch an immediate job search, meet with his or her Outplacement Consultant, file an unemployment insurance claim and set up dates with his or her network, all of which are difficult to do on the weekend.
Some employers always terminate employees on Friday because it is convenient for payroll and the company, but not especially friendly for the employee. The terminated employee has all weekend to stew about the company and the termination and have little that he or she could do to move forward on the weekend. This point was recently made by a comment submitted by one of our participants:
“During the weekend after I was laid off, I was reacting kind of wildly, thinking that I needed to do this and that all within the next 30 minutes. But after attending the classes, my thoughts eventually shifted from random and wild ones to being more structured for my analysis about my next chapter.”
In reality, there is never a good time to terminate an employee. What it comes down to is picking the best day of the week based on the person and the reason that the person is being terminated.
Our recommendation is to have a Career Development Partners representative onsite at the time of the notification. CDP’s consultants are trained to handle the various emotional responses that may arise from a termination. Whether it is extreme sadness with tears or extreme anger or anything in between, the Outplacement Consultant is trained to handle it with professionalism.
A process we have found that works really well is that the employee is notified of their job elimination in one room and then moved to an adjoining room to meet with the Outplacement Consultant. This gives the employee a point of contact and the assurance that there is a plan in place to move their career forward.
If you must terminate an employee, treat them with dignity and respect, you don’t want to humiliate them. They, and your other employees, will remember how you handled this for a very long time.
Please contact me to discuss your situation and our advice.
Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice
Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.
Contact Rick at: Rick@CareerDevelopmentPartners.com