INSTANT MBA: Be Brutally Honest When You Fire Your Employee

Alberto Perlman

Alberto Perlman

Today's advice comes from Alberto Perlman, CEO and co-founder of Zumba Fitness LLC, via The Wall Street Journal:

"Saying ‘no’ is my biggest problem. The second is letting people go. It tears me up inside every time I do it. The way I’ve learned how to handle it is I think about the damage that that person is doing. This is a person in customer care who’s not treating our customers right, or a person in the apparel department who’s not doing quality control right. They’re causing our consumers pain, and I’m on [the customer's] side, right?"

Perlman says deciding to fire someone is a tough call to make. Although you don't want to hurt the employee you are letting go, you have to remember that you ultimately need to do what's best for your customers and your business. The best way to approach the situation is to be honest. Instead of trying to sugar coat what you are about to do, don't be afraid to tell your employee exactly why they are being let go. It's a painful experience for everyone and being honest about it is the least you can do to terminate the employment on good terms.
"[I deliver the news] with brutal honesty. I sit down and I tell them, ‘Listen, this is what happened. We tried. We gave you chances, and it’s not working out. It’s causing so much pain that it’s better for you to not be here anymore. But there’s a job out there for everyone.’ Every time you let somebody go, it’s a scar. I feel I have a hundred of these scars, you know?"

Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.