Knowing When It’s Time to Fire an Employee
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This article is from guest blogger
Kristie Lewis – manager, writer.
To Let Go or Not to Let Go?
Firing someone is never an easy process.
As heartbreaking as it is for the employee who’s about to be let go, it can be just as emotionally exhausting for HR professionals.
I know, because I’ve experienced it a handful of times.
Sometimes, of course, it’s an easy call. The employee in question blatantly violated rules which he or she knew about full well before committing the transgression.
Maybe the employee has experienced troubles from the very get-go, and even after attempts at rehabilitation, she still does not quite “get” it.
But for all these open-and-shut cases of letting go employees, there are tons more scenarios which prove more difficult when it comes to making that final call.
Here are some questions I typically ask myself before moving forward with firing someone:
To what extent is the employee costing the business instead of benefiting the business?
This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before considering firing an employee.
If the employee makes only the occasional faux pas, but is actually very productive, then the worker is still benefiting the company, no matter what the nature of his or her mistakes.
If, on the other hand, the employee is well liked, but fails to complete her work such that she is actually costing the business instead of benefiting the business’ bottom line, you should begin the firing process.
Where are the complaints about the employee coming from?
As all HR professionals know, there’s a big difference between legitimate complaints and other employees or managers simply back-biting or whining about issues that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter.
Whoever suggests that an employee be fired, be sure you discuss the employee’s problems with that person thoroughly.
Take complaints from co-workers with a grain of salt, but listen carefully to those who directly work above the employee in question.
Ask for documentation proving the employee is in the wrong and has consistently been in the wrong for some time.
Has the employee in question been counseled as thoroughly as possible?
Personally, I think it’s only fair to give any given employee as much opportunity as possible to redeem him or herself.
At a former company where I worked, the firing process always began with counseling.
After counseling, an employee was warned, both verbally and then in writing, before the discussion of firing was even on the table.
Sometimes it takes just a few adjustments to get a problem employee back on the right track.
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