As consumers, we’ve all had negative customer service experiences. Some of them may have left us scratching our head about why a business would employ someone who treats patrons poorly. Yet, as a business leader, it can be hard to know when it’s time to let an employee go. Here are three signs to help you know when it’s time to make that decision.
1. Behavior is getting worse.
The first step to helping struggling workers is to talk about the issues and tell them how they can improve their performance. If the employees don’t express a desire to change during or after this conversation, it may be time to let them go. Some behaviors to look for when determining if behavior is worsening include:
- Initiating issues with other employees
- Bad-mouthing coworkers
- Undermining management
- Arguing with you, other team members, or clients
- Ongoing lateness
- Long lunches and breaks
- Leaving early without notice
If you see an ongoing problem, take appropriate steps in the right order: (1) a verbal warning, (2) a written warning, (3) one last chance (for good measure), and finally, (4) termination.
2. Low Productivity
Underperforming employees are a drain on business. If this employee works closely with other team members, his or her underperformance could cause extra work for those employees. This can create frustration among high performing team members, which can result in a drop in morale and lower productivity across the company.
3. Complaints From Customers and Vendors
Customers and vendors drive business success. So hanging onto an employee who gets complaints regularly may not be a good decision. Of course, it’s important to hear the employee’s side of a conflict before you decide he or she is in the wrong. But take the complaints seriously.
Being terminated is often is the best thing for a poor performer, too. There's a good chance that they are unhappy in their role. When you let them go, you free them to pursue new opportunities 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 may be helping someone find a more rewarding career.