Terminating an Employee 101: How to Know When it’s Time to Let Go
Severing an employee isn’t easy, but it can be necessary. If you have any workers who are toxic to the company, it’s time to let them go. Ideally, employees and employers come to an agreement about employee severance. Then, each party goes its separate ways. This is ideal but not always the usual. When employee motivation is down, you need to look at the employees responsible. For unsure employers, this is when you know it’s time to let an employee go and when to do it.
Misconduct and Unethical Conduct
Misconduct is serious. If an employee shows any sexist, racist or problematic behavior, let him or her go. Do not allow threats or other misconduct to go undisciplined. Unethical conduct can include the following:
Your company’s reputation hinges on your employees. Don’t let one employee ruin your reputation.
Absences and Poor Performance
Employee motivation goes down if they notice some co-workers aren’t working as hard. Poor performance and chronic absences are a reason for termination. If productivity slips, it may be time for a talk. If the behavior does not change, then it may be time for termination.
Drama and Complaints
Office drama happens. You can’t always avoid it. Some people, unfortunately, like to cause drama. If someone is stirring the pot, gossiping and always the center of drama, it’s a problem. This creates a negative corporate culture.
Complaints also matter. If your employee has customers, vendors and coworkers filing complaints, it’s time to look closely at that person.
Lack of Growth
The office is a place for personal and professional development. If your employee is not willing to improve or to train, then he or she may drag the company down. Employee motivation needs to be high. If your employee makes mistakes and doesn’t seek to fix them, he or she is not useful.
Poor Time Management
Now and then tardiness happens. Good organizational behavior is important. This is especially true when it comes to time management. Say you have an employee with a case of chronic lateness who misses deadlines. Seek to work with him at first. Let the employee know that he isn’t meeting your standards. If the employee continues to struggle, then your company might not be the right fit.
Terminating an Employee
If you determine it’s time to let an employee go, when you do it is important. How quickly do you want the employee out of the office? You also want to consider your worker’s feelings. You should never fire someone callously. Make sure that you take the time to be considerate. This also includes terminating at the right time.
In the past, employers would fire on Fridays. This is a bad idea. The weekend gives the employee time to stew on the firing. He or she can’t jump straight into a job search but has to wait all weekend. Most employers agree that it is better to fire in the middle of the week. You don’t want to fire on a Monday. This leads to feelings of time wasted. Make sure to terminate early in the day.
Remember that a crying or upset co-worker can drop employee motivation. Give the terminated employee a quiet or private space if he or she is upset. Treat him or her in a dignified way. You should always have respect, no matter the conditions of the termination.
When it comes to firing an employee, always consider the matter carefully. Some decisions aren’t as clear as others. Take into account the advantages and disadvantages of keeping an employee. Someone who does more harm than good has to be let go. Nevertheless, remember even in cases of termination to treat all employees with respect.
Founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, partner to Newsweek on America’s Most Loved Workplaces, and the author of more than 10 books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion’s Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives voted him as one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture thinkers worldwide, and his feedback and benchmarking software has won HR Tech’s top product of the year award. Louis has been featured in Forbes, Investors Business Daily, Newsweek, MSNBC, Fast Company, and interviewed widely. For more information on Carter’s story see, “Meet the Fixer” and GoSolo.