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15 Things to Say to Soften the Blow When You Fire Someone

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15 Things to Say to Soften the Blow When You Fire Someone

If you work in management or HR, you know that firing someone is always a difficult experience. Can anything you say make the harsh inevitability a little easier to swallow? According to managers who have answered the question, ‘what to say to fire someone’, how you phrase bad news makes a world of difference.

Are you looking for what to say to fire someone in your department or company without creating more conflict than necessary? Our list of situation-specific phrases will help you formulate what to say to soften the blow after you fire someone.


When circumstances demand layoffs


01When your company is having financial struggles…


iphone smartphone calculator
Photo by L.n.a. on reshot


“Mr. Mallory, this is to inform you that you have been fired from your salaried position with us here at [company name].
This decision was largely prompted by the company’s current financial situation, which is precarious and has triggered massive company-wide organizational changes; including staff lay-offs. Good luck in your next endeavor.”


“Dear Mr. Mallory, I regret to inform you that you have been let go from your position in this organization.
The company’s current financial situation renders it incapable of supporting the staff in its present size. I wish you only the best in your future prospects.”


02When the problem is an industry-wide issue…


“As you know, this organization and the industry at large are having a hard time in this digital economy, and companies are being forced to execute lay-offs to survive. I hope this unfortunate situation leads you to better opportunities. “


“This company, like many others in our industry, has been forced to lay off large numbers of its employees as a cost-cutting measure in these difficult economic conditions.”


03When new management demands changes…


CEO boss formal suit and tie
Photo by Roland Samuel on unsplash


“This regrettable development has been triggered, in part, by the company’s newest top-level officials. New management is restructuring the entire organization by cutting back across all departments. “


“The company’s newest top-level members are looking to shake things up, and they’ve chosen to start by recalibrating the existing staff. This is a regrettable situation, but I hope you find better luck in your next endeavor.”


What to say to fire someone: a supportive approach


04This job isn’t the end of your life


“Please don’t let this development affect you too harshly. This is not the end of the world, and there will always be other opportunities for you to consider.”


“As difficult as this news is, I’d like you to remember that this job isn’t the only one in the world. There are many other opportunities out there waiting for you.”


05Everything happens for a reason


close up photo of four leaf clover
Photo by Amy Reed on unsplash


“This won’t change anything, but I’d like you to know that nothing happens without a reason. This could end up being the best thing that could have happened right now.”


“I know this news is terrible, but I need you to remember that everything happens for a reason. Don’t view this as a setback; it could be that this turns out to be your life’s biggest blessing.”


06The employee showed a lot of promise, and you wish them only the best in their next step


“I personally still believe you are a promising individual with skills and talents any company would be interested in. I pray that you find better luck in your next position.”


“I am of the firm belief that you have the talents and skillset required to do something incredible and succeed in your next endeavor. Good luck.”


What to say to fire someone: looking toward the future


07You’re ready to write them a recommendation letter


black and silver fountain pen write
Photo by Álvaro Serrano on unsplash


“Following company policy, you will receive a positive recommendation letter that we hope will help you in securing your next opportunity.”


“I will be personally writing you a glowing recommendation letter that I hope will make your transition to new opportunities easier.”


08There are other opportunities available


foreign woman street
Photo by acworks author on photo-ac


“I know there is nothing that can make this news go down any easier, but I know of several fresh job openings that could work wonderfully for you.”


“In the meantime, I have found a series of very interesting job openings in the industry that you might want to investigate. “


09This could be a blessing in disguise


“This is, of course, devastating news, but I’d like you to consider the fact that this could be a blessing in disguise. It could be an opportunity for you to switch gears.”


“I know this won’t soften the blow, but I hope you consider that this could also be an opportunity disguised. This could be leading you to your next great opportunity, so don’t lose hope.”


What to say to fire someone: Compliments and encouragement


10The employee was a strong member of your team


“I’d like to acknowledge that you were a fantastic staff member here, better than many surviving staffers. We’ll miss you.”


“I have to tell you that you made an impact here, and that you stood out from all the other staff members.  “


11The company is grateful for their service


today i am grateful written
Photo by Freshh Connection on unsplash


“The board values all the years of service you gave this company. We appreciate all the work you’ve put in for us.”


“We remain grateful for all the work you did with this company, and all the successes you’ve led us to. We hope you find even better opportunities in your next step.”


12The employee had a commendable work ethic


“Let me just add that this company was lucky to have a person of your skillset, work ethic, and talents for as long as we did. Good luck in the next chapter of your career.”


“It goes without saying that we will definitely miss your talents, skillset, and unquestionable work-ethic. Good luck with your next position.”


Remain understanding and compassionate


13You didn’t want this to happen


“To be clear, this is, by no means, the development I had in mind for you or any other employee hired to work here, but I wish you the best in your future endeavors.”


“This is the last thing I wanted to happen to you or any other staff member, but I hope you go on to finer things and better opportunities.”


14It’s all part of God’s plan


God is faithful signage
Photo by Tony Eight Media on unsplash


“I hope you won’t be too thrown by this development, because, like many things we can’t change, God meant for this to happen.”


“I know this is a difficult time for you, but I pray that you find comfort in the fact that this is all part of God’s plan. It’s just part of your journey.”


15You wish things would have ended differently


“As difficult as this news is, the company still wishes that the outcome of your years with us had been different. Thank you for your service, and good luck in your next opportunities.”


“I want to add that I really wish this had led to a different outcome. We will have a very hard time replacing such a talented individual. I wish you only the best as you tackle other opportunities. “



At the end of the day, firing an employee can never be pain-free. But, managers everywhere can learn what to say to fire someone to make the experience more manageable for both sides.
For managers looking for what to say to fire someone without causing unwarranted disappointment, these ideas above should work wonderfully.

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