How to fire an employee without burning a bridge

Running a successful medical practice depends on a strong team of employees. If one staff member isn't working out, the best move for the practice is often to let him or her go. It is possible to part ways with an employee, however, without excessive hard feelings, according to a post from Harvard Business Review.

If the time comes when you need to fire an employee, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Be respectful. Before even entering the meeting, put yourself in a frame of mind similar to when you hired the person, focused on the positive. "Imagine him contributing more powerfully in another organization or role," wrote author Anese Cavanaugh. "Approach the conversation with the assumption that he has value--it may just be in a different job."
  • Make time. Just as when doctors have to deliver bad news to patients, allot enough time for the employee to process the news--which should not come as a total surprise--and engage in a conversation. It may well be that the person reacts with anger or sadness. Make space for those emotions, but stick to the facts about the reasons leading up to the termination and next steps.
  • Coordinate an exit strategy. It may be appropriate to let the employee set his or her own exit timeline and decide how and when to share the news with colleagues, HBR noted; but in many cases managers will want to pre-plan these events and go over the details during the meeting. Be sure to ask the departing employee whether there's any support you can provide to make the transition easier, Cavanaugh advised.

To learn more:
- read the article