Firing Employees a Harrowing Experience

January 13, 2006 ( - About 40% of senior manager respondents to a recent survey said they felt their health and family life had suffered as a result of having to fire someone.

A news report on Monster’s management-issues Web site said that one in eight respondents said they had experienced stress that affected their work from having to fire employees.

The UK study by Alexander Hughes Interim Management (AHIM) found that more than 60% of senior managers have had to fire staff in the past two years without having been trained on how to do it.More than a third of the respondents questioned felt stressed and worried as a result of the downsizing/change management programs they have had to undertake, with more than 44% having received no prior training, according to the news report.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents enjoyed their job less as a result of the firing program, and 12% said they believed the process has affected their ability to do their job properly.

Even anticipating having to fire someone can cause a great deal of stress. Seventy-one percent of senior managers and directors who have not yet participated in any downsizing programs but expect to do so within the next year say they would be upset if they had to take the lead in firing employees.

Gavan Burden, managing director at AHIM, advises hiring outsiders to do the dirty work as they will not have as much ’emotional baggage’ when firing employees.