We Are Sunshine

Dealing with the Aftermath of Firing an Employee

Monday, March 13th, 2023

It takes a lot of deliberation and effort to bring a new team member on board, especially in small businesses. The strain on resources can be more apparent than at larger companies, meaning the hiring process must be very strategic. It’s no small task to entrust the entire livelihood to a stranger for a few hours at a time, so tanning salon owners do their best to guide and educate their employees over time.

Ultimately, not everyone will end up being the perfect fit. After so many attempts at addressing bad behaviors or retraining, the unfortunate reality of having to fire someone sinks in. After you rip off the Band-Aid, so to speak, you think the worst is behind you. The truth is that your work isn’t done.

Whether they’re showing it or not, at least a few of your employees are freaking out. Much like when you face your mortality for the first time, your staff is suffering from the rude awakening that they could be next. Gossip and assumptions fly between team members, productivity goes down, and so does morale.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. Managers, operators and owners would do well to anticipate the ripple effect of firing an employee and taking steps to prevent the chaos. By using that time as an opportunity to foster transparency about the company’s plans and situation, you can eliminate any unnecessary worry and actually improve the relationship you have with your team.

You don’t have to reveal the specific details about an employee’s dismissal to satisfy your staff. Instead, just hold a meeting to announce the change and give employees essential information they may want to know. One of the scariest things is not having these types of dynamic changes directly addressed, since it often leaves remaining team members uneasy. It’s also important to talk about if the salon will be looking for a replacement, or if the responsibilities are going to be divided amongst the rest of the team.

Make yourself approachable to have one-on-one discussions with employees after the announcement, and be authentic about your answers. Being too mechanical and official can make employees feel like they don’t matter or can’t get a straight answer, and being putting on a happy song and dance like nothing happened can be just as off-putting.

Also make sure to actively reach out to others. When people feel that their job could be in danger, they often start the process of looking elsewhere. Instead of giving them nothing to go on, take extra care to notice when good work is being done, especially by your top performers. Neglecting to do so can result in a troublesome period of turnover where people mysteriously quit after someone is fired.

To refocus your salon’s energy on the future, remind everyone of the goals you have in place for that month or quarter. By laying out clear, achievable steps toward those goals and opening the floor for regular feedback, most salon employees will find that their fears subside sooner rather than later.