When a company adopts new policies and procedures that are more in line with its values, it makes sense to terminate employees who do not follow them. Besides being critical to ensuring that each employee is on board with the company’s goals, it also helps manage employee diversity by encouraging those who are not engaged in the new policy to consider finding work elsewhere.

1. Write Everything Down

Before terminating an employee, it’s important to be prepared. Make a list of all the reasons why you are letting someone go, including any instances of negligence or sexual harassment. Having all the details in writing will make it easier for the employee to understand why he is being terminated and let him know what steps he can take to improve his performance at work.

2. Clearly Communicate Expectations

Providing an employee with a clear understanding of what he needs to do to perform his job properly and avoid termination is effective in helping him improve his work performance. Although it’s important to have the details of his job written down, it’s also important to have a verbal discussion with the employee about your expectations for him.

3. Be a Good Coach

Emphasize to the employee that you want to continue working with him but that you also need his help in getting to the bottom of why he isn’t performing as well as you’d expect. It’s important to recognize that dismissing an employee can be emotional for both parties, so be sure to handle it in a way that doesn’t communicate hostility.

4. Initiate a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

Suppose the employee is having difficulty performing his job and sticking to the new policy guidelines. In that case, he may need to be evaluated by a doctor or psychologist before being terminated. It will give you time to assess whether he is truly having trouble doing his job or simply unhappy with some aspect of his working conditions. It will also provide you with room to choose whether or not you want to dismiss him based on that evaluation.

5. Conduct Written Counseling

Suppose the employee isn’t able to address the counseling you’ve given him, and he isn’t performing up to your expectations after he’s been evaluated. Set up a meeting with him and write down any concerns that need to be addressed, just as you did when conducting the first written counseling session. Reassure him that if he can correct his behavior and meet your expectations, there is still room for improvement in his employment with your company.


Not all employees will feel the same way about being terminated. It’s important that you communicate your expectations clearly to understand why he is being dismissed and what steps he can take to improve his performance. If a PIP is necessary, encourage him by emphasizing that this is just a step toward having a productive employment relationship with your company.