4 Communication Keys After Firing an Employee

You’ve done the hard thing; you’ve actually fired an employee.  The worst is over.

But, you can easily fall prey to the pitfall of poor communication once the firing and employee is complete.  How this is perceived by the rest of the company is really important.

Think of yourself as an actor onstage.  Even the people closest to you are watching carefully to see how you’ll behave in this difficult situation.  They’re sizing up your moral character.  You don’t want to have come this far, just to get this last part wrong.

So, take an effective firing across the finish line by obeying these post-firing communication keys:

  1. Never speak badly about the person you fired
  2. State that they are no longer with the company
  3. Thank them for their contribution
  4. Wish them the best in the future
  5. A sample email explaining the firing

The Professional Leadership Institute provides training on Termination of Employment and offers a free preview.

Never speak badly about the person you fired

It’s tempting to say what you really think in the communique you’re going to write.  Don’t do it.  I suggest composing an email to the entire company, briefly explaining the situation.  In that email, you’re going to take the high road.

If you speak badly about the person in the email you’re composing, you’re going to show that you’re just like the person who left – someone who really shouldn’t be on the team.

This is an opportunity to greatly increase the respect the remaining team has for you.

Speaking badly about the person doesn’t help.  You won.  They’re gone.  Now it’s time to be magnanimous and generous.  Without lying about the situation.

As the saying goes:

“I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig.  You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

-George Bernard Shaw

State that they are no longer with the company

You don’t have to, and shouldn’t get into the details of the situation.  Just simply state that, as of this date, this person is no longer with the company.  Don’t say anything unnecessary about the firing.  Don’t say:

  • Why they were fired
  • How long it took to come to the decision to fire
  • What their compensation package looks like
  • Why you are actually the good guy in the situation
  • Why they are the bad guy
  • How the company will be better off
  • How the person fired will be better off

None of this is necessary.  Just state that they are no longer with the company, and move on to the next part of your email.

Thank them for their contribution

This isn’t hard except in extreme cases.  If the person was stealing from the company or committed an outrageous, intolerable, and offensive act, you may want to cut this part out.  But the great majority of the time, you can think of something to thank them for.

It may even be a simple generic thank you, such as, “We would like to thank her for all of her contributions to the company.”  You don’t have to get specific here.  You just want to give a general feeling of good will, and let others know you’re taking the high road.

Wish them the best in the future

This is simple.  Just say those words:  “We wish them the best in their future endeavors” or something of that nature.  Remember, the point here is to take the high road, and let everyone in the company know you’re choosing to do so.  You’re setting the example for how an adult handles difficult situations.

A sample email explaining the firing

Here’s a sample of how your firing email should look:

“This email is to inform everyone that as of today, Joe Smith is no longer with our company.  We would like to thank Joe for his many contributions to our company over the past year, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.  For now, Joe’s work will be covered by Sheila in shipping, so contact her at extension 333 for your shipping needs.”

It’s simple, it informs people about what’s going on, and it doesn’t take any shots at the employee.  Maybe Joe was the worst employee every.  If so, people understand what’s going on.  If there are things that they can never know due to privacy concerns, your character and reputation will win over time.

Resist the impulse to bad mouth them.

In summary:

Once you’ve fired a person, communicating the firing to the rest of the company is really important.  Here’s exactly how to do it:

  1. Never speak badly about the person you fired
  2. State that they are no longer with the company
  3. Thank them for their contribution
  4. Wish them the best in the future
  5. A sample email explaining the firing

Additional resources

Thanks for reading this article on what 4 communication keys after firing an employee.  Below are additional resources from Professional Leadership Institute, the global provider of online human resources and leadership tools:

Recommended Resources:

Uncover your strengths and weaknesses with our complimentary assessment. Boost your effectiveness at work and with your team.

Free Resource Library: Access our extensive collection of valuable resources for instant support in your personal and professional growth.

Explore Our Course Library:

Enhance your leadership skills with our diverse selection of courses. Take your abilities to the next level and become a more effective leader and team player.


Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.


Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.


Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.