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Thuy Rees
Pre-School Director

4 Things You Need to Do After Firing an Employee

May 20, 2021

There are some days as a director that are so ingrained in my mind I will never forget them. Each and every time I had to let an employee go was one of those days. 

I remember details like what I was wearing, what room we were in, and how the butterflies felt in my stomach. 

The truth is, transitioning an employee is never easy, and there are many ripple effects. Since child care is such a tight-knit community it makes it even harder when someone leaves. At the same time, you are raising someone else's child so no matter what your role, working in child care is a big responsibility!  

Because of this it’s important not to drag your feet when a transition needs to take place. Especially when it comes to a child’s safety, never ever put a child at risk because you fail to let someone go when you need to.  

That said, letting someone go is never easy. It can cause tension among your team members and even cause families to leave your center. This is why transitioning an employee must be done thoughtfully, respectfully, and carefully

Moving quickly is important but so is what you do immediately following. Today I want to talk about the aftermath. What should you do after letting an employee go? By carrying out the following actions you will not only protect your center’s reputation, but will also safeguard your children, their families, and your staff culture. 

Here are 4 things to do after firing an employee at your child care center:

1. Limit Their Communication

The first thing I recommend doing after letting an employee go is to remove their access to communication with both the staff and families in the center. This might seem harsh, but you don’t want them sending a mass email to either group and saying anything that may affect your reputation as a center or put anyone else’s comfort, security, or privacy at risk. 

2. Communicate With Your Team

The next thing is to communicate with your team about the transition. Avoid mentioning specifics or making excuses. Simply let them know that you have decided to transition the employee and you feel that it is best for the center. Make sure you are the first to communicate this with your team. You want them to get any information you are willing to share straight from you first and have the opportunity to answer any questions before the rumours start to swirl. 

3. Communicate With Your Families

I recommend communicating with just the families from the individual’s classroom unless the staff member worked with all the families directly. Keep your communication direct and include your staffing plan to replace the employee as this is the first question on a parent’s mind. That means you need to have a plan in place before you let the employee go so you can notify the parents about the details right away. 

4. Adjust Job Duties

When a staff member transitions there are usually other duties that need to be distributed on top of their classroom assignments. Have a list of all the things they did and assign those tasks to other members of your team asap until you can bring in a new team member. 

Final Notes

Letting an employee go is never fun for anyone. To make it easier, give plenty of warning and create a plan to make them better - with the understanding that if they don’t improve then they will be let go. If the firing comes as a shock, you will not only lose the opportunity to improve your staff, but could be faced with an emotional outburst or even legal action.

As you may have noticed, good communication is essential. Keep communication with the employee clear and straightforward from the start, focussing on the facts rather than on the individual. This will help the employee reflect on what is going on and hopefully help make them aware of the issues so they can change their behavior moving forward.

The goal of this blog isn’t to scare you away from making transitions, but to help you do them well. As leaders we have a lot of power in how we lead our teams, which can be a two-edged sword. This leadership doesn’t just end after a staff meeting or a one on one. It ripples throughout our centers based on how we handle difficult situations

A true leader looks conflict straight in the eye, addresses it directly, and makes the necessary changes immediately. So get out there and take charge - your families are depending on you!

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