Should You Fire "That" Employee?

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on October 25, 2013

Firing happens. Every hiring and HR manager will eventually face the decision: should this employee be retained, or let go?  But while knowing the decision is inevitable is one thing, acting on it in the best interest of your company is another – especially when the “keep or fire” decision is a close call.

Because employee turnover can be very expensive, it is often in a company’s best interests to work with problem employees to improve their performance and help them succeed, rather than cutting them loose at the first sign of trouble.  The first step to creating any program to help employees succeed is to communicate openly with the employee about the problem, identifying both the barriers to success and means to overcome those barriers.

In some situations, however, even working with an employee may not be enough to salvage the employee’s performance and value to your organization.  In these cases, managers may have to accept that firing the employee is necessary.

How can you identify employees who should be let go?  An employee is probably ready to be released if he or she is demonstrating most or all of the following “red flag” behaviors on the job:

  • Decreasing performance or productivity.  An employee who is improving on the job should probably be kept on board, even if performance is increasing more slowly than expected.  An employee who is falling ever further behind, however, may be ready to leave.
  • Negative behavior affects company culture and other employees.  Some negative behavior can be addressed effectively by managers without taking the drastic step of firing the employee.  When negativity continues to drag down productivity, affect other employees, or damage company culture, however, it may be time to part ways.
  • Resistance to management or leadership makes change difficult.  A plan to help an employee get back on track only works if the employee makes a good-faith effort to improve.  If an employee refuses to participate, management can do little to save the employee’s performance.
  • Negative behavior affects profitability or customer retention.  Conflict in the workplace can often be handled effectively by a proactive manager, but negative employee behavior that damages profitability or ruins client relationships is a major red flag.  An employee whose actions damage the bottom line is a key candidate for firing.

The experienced recruiters at TERRA Staffing do more than merely identify top talent for your company.  We also help you address strategic staffing decisions in order to build the strengths your company needs now and in the future.  Contact us today to learn more!

Categories: HR and Management Advice, Staffing Tips & Recruiting Trends

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