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How to Fire Employees When They're Your Family


It is never easy knowing how to fire employees. Firing family members is twice as difficult as letting go of regular employees. However, what needs to be done has to be done. If you find yourself in such a situation, the only way to do it is confine the entire discussion to work issues alone; keep other family members away from the entire process and be professional about it. Use the following tips on how to fire family members without too much guilt and fuss.

Set Expectations

Setting employee expectations usually happens during the hiring process. There should be no exception when it comes to setting expectations to an employee who happens to be a family member or relative. Communicate business policies regarding managing and firing employees beforehand. By doing so, it will not be that difficult for you to fire them once the need to do so arises.

Be Ready With Your Reasons

Just like firing regular employees, you have to be logical and reasonable about why you've made this decision. Perhaps that family member is not meeting his required quota as agreed upon during the hiring process or maybe that relative has incurred several unexplainable unauthorized absences. Do not ever use rumors or unsupported accusations from other employees or family members. Greed and vengeance should not be discussed. Always be professional, even if you're talking to a family member.

Inform Other Relatives

You do not have to tell everyone in the family about it. If you feel a need to discuss the issue, explain to them why you've made such a decision and ask them about their views on it. You can gather all family members either immediately before or after the termination. Provide them with the details, ask for feedback, and show them that you are firm in your decision and that is it already non-negotiable.

Highlight the Strengths

In terminating an employee relationship with a family member, highlight the strengths that you think the employee should maintain. This will not only make them feel better, but it will also help them become better workers and individuals. Examples of these strengths include punctuality, willingness to help others, persistence and resourcefulness. Sit down with the family member and explain that despite the strengths you've mentioned, there is still a need for you to terminate the contract.

You can offer to write a recommendation letter for future employers and you can even help the fired relative look for a new job. This won't apply, though, if the employee has committed serious offenses like misappropriation of funds.

Be Firm

Expect guilt trips from the fired relative, even sobs, pleas and promises. Stick to your guns and do not allow yourself to be swayed by another relative's pleas. There should be a clear line between family loyalty and keeping your company's best interests.

It is also best to hold a post-termination meeting with other employees that are also family members. It is the best time to reiterate company rules and policies. Remind them in a positive way that they should also meet performance goals just like other non-family employees. Avoid bashing the fired relative.

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