This is an email sent to someone I know this past week, firing them while they were on vacation (not that there is ever a good time to fire someone). Read on for my comments [in brackets] and advice…and you might want to play this song as you read.
SUBJECT: Updates and changes
Hope your vacation is going well. I feel bad that I am writing you an
email to give you this update but due to the nature of the contract I
feel it is imperative to contact you now.
[First, let me tell you about your replacement]
Over the past 6 months, I have been in touch with a past colleague
that I have been “courting” to join ____ and me with our [what we do so well].
We both worked with him in the past and know his
abilities. Well, earlier this week he notified me that one of the two
contracts he has been working on dried up. As a result he is available
and willing to work with us. I can’t be more excited to have him help
out. [and to get rid of you so I can hire him]
His expertise and experience is very comprehensive and has made me
reevaluate our current structure and set-up [yours is not]. This evaluation, and
financial assessment, has led me to conclude that there is too much
overlap with what I am going to have him do and what you are doing for
the project [he’s taking your place].
The bad news, and again I am sorry for sending this email [NOT REALLY!!]
rather than calling or waiting until you return [That would take some courage I don’t have], but as he is joining
right away, I am, effective today, terminating your contract with [name of company].
I debated on calling you but thought it best to not bother you with
your family time today [besides, I’d rather ruin your vacation than tell you the day you return]. I welcome a call and hope to talk with you
upon your return [not really, but it makes me feel better to say that]. That said, please transition your work to _____ straightaway and provide me with your final time sheet.
Thanks for all of your work. I am happy to provide you a reference if
you so desire. [but it won’t be a good one!]
Regards and best wishes,
NOTE TO JERK: first, this person should thank you – you did them a favor. You saved them from working together any longer. But maybe you could’ve handled this better. Contractors can be let go of by either side without notice or reason. Make it a business decision rather than bragging about the person you got to replace the person you just hired.
Firing someone is not easy or fun. Neither is telling someone they didn’t get a job (especially in this economy when people and families are hurting.) I’ve had to do it. I’ve had it done to me. I didn’t like doing it but I always tried to show compassion.
Here’s what I suggest – you email something like this: We had a change in the business and I regret to tell you that I’ve decided not to hire you on. So effective today[insert date] I’m ending your contract. Thanks for your work.
If they asked why I’d give them a short but truthful response – like this – we found someone else who we thought would fit the position and our company better.
I also have some more free advice for employees: most businesses don’t want to hear your real opinion about their ideas if they are bad ideas. If asked stick to the facts about your reservations. Don’t get yourself labeled as a complainer or someone who stops projects.
My husband taught me this – he will not complain or try to change a lot of things about where he works. He’s on a committee that gives feedback. The boss appreciates that he’s not taking up a lot of his time with things and that he’s producing (his numbers are great). I used to be more free with my opinions and I’ve found most of the time it doesn’t work. Plus, if you I had that many complaints either I needed to change my attitude or look for another job.
It’s always best to keep to the facts and leave the other person out of it.
What do you think?