As a business owner or business decision maker, how do you know when it’s time to let an employee go? Sometimes, for both the company and the employee, the two parties must go their separate ways. Here are three signs to help you know when it’s time to make that decision.
1. Behavior Has Gone From Bad to Worse
After discussing problem areas with your employee, (which, as we have suggested, can be done in a monthly one on one chat) if he or she isn’t reacting with overt desire to change and improve, and seems to be disengaging and showing disinterest, then it may be time to let the employee go. Some behaviors to look for when determining whether the behavior is defiant and worsening include:
Instigating issues with other employees
Bad-mouthing you or other senior employees
Undermining a management plan
Constantly arguing with you or other management
Unapproved long lunches
Leaving early without notice
According to Dave Crenshaw you can try the three instances rule and see if that works: (1) a verbal warning, (2) a written warning, (3) one last chance (for good measure), and finally, (4) termination.
2. Low Productivity
Hanging onto an underperforming employee for too long can be a detriment to your company. If this employee works closely with other coworkers, let's say as part of a set team, his or her underperformance could cause extra workload for those coworkers. This can create frustration for those employees, causing a drop in morale and your bottom line.
3. Complaints From Customers and Vendors
For most of us, our customers and vendors drive our businesses. So hanging onto an employee who elicits complaints from your valued customers and vendors, may not be the best decision. Of course, it’s best to speak with your employee first, and possibly give them another chance. However, take the complaints seriously. Don’t risk losing customers and vendors because of one sour apple in the bunch. Your customers’ experiences matter and can make or break your business.
Keep in mind, too, that it’s a good idea to assess the overall morale of your team. An underperforming or ill-behaved employee can be a measure of the pulse of your company. Often, it’s not the individual employee who is the problem, but an overall fall in morale, for many reasons. Assess all areas with an open-mind then decide if it’s truly time to let an employee go.
Firing an employee isn’t always easy, but it often is the best thing for the employee too. There's a good chance that if they are struggling, then they too are unhappy. When you let them go, you are freeing them up to pursue an opportunity in an organization where they can thrive and feel like they are making a positive contribution. So, when you have made the decision to part ways, do it quickly, with respect and know that you are not helping them by waiting because you are keeping them from using that valuable time to find a new position.