When Is It Time to Fire an Employee?

No one is perfect, and it would be unfair to insist that your employees always live up to the highest ideals. But despite your best efforts at coaching and retraining, you will eventually run into a team member who just refuses to even try to improve. Here are some signs that it may be time to fire an employee.

Serial Offenses

Unfortunately, some people simply believe that rules don’t apply to them. If you have an employee who chronically breaks the rules, despite plenty of coaching and opportunities for improvement, it is time to say goodbye.

Morale Issues

This can be tough because some problem employees actually do great work. Still, if you have an office bully who is dragging down morale, it can be highly damaging to your entire organization. If the employee won’t reign in his boorish behavior, he may need to go for the good of the company. Also, failure to fire an employee who is causing problems can bring down the morale and productivity of the entire team.

Drama Queens

Some people thrive on discord and disorder. They’re quick to pit people against each other and then sit back to watch the drama. You’re unlikely to be able to reign in a drama queen, so let her go and help your team heal from the damage.

Productivity Problems

Some people take longer than others to learn how to do a new job and to come fully up to speed on it. But if repeated mistakes, corrections and consequences haven’t helped over time, you may need to bring in someone new who can do what the position requires.

Serious Violations

Some workplace transgressions are simply unforgivable. Depending on your policies and the nature of the worksite, these might include such offenses as bringing in a weapon, theft, or working while under the influence. If an employee endangers himself, his coworkers, or the well-being of the workplace, it doesn’t make sense to keep him around.

It’s never easy to fire an employee, but it’s something most employers face sooner or later. If you need to let, someone go, make it quick, give a clear explanation, and document everything. Be sure that all appropriate paperwork is completed in advance, and make sure the terminated employee understands his rights and responsibilities. It can be a miserable experience, but the sooner both you and your former team member can move forward, the better it will be for everyone.

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