Worried businesswoman receiving a notification from a colleague in her workplace at office

At times, it will be necessary for your firm to part from employees who have not transgress any rules or made terrible mistakes.  You may have that staff member that is always performing just okay and you know that you could replace that person with someone more valuable.  However, it might be a good idea to give that individual a chance to improve to avoid any legal issues in firing them when in fact it is not totally justified or documented yet.

 There is never a true easy way to release an employee

Although each employee should be potentially given a chance to change their work attitude or ways, it is sometimes necessary to let go of certain people for the long-term benefit of the organization.  By keeping negative or lazy employees around for example, it can demoralize the rest of the staff that is very motivated to do well.  Keeping some bad apples can be very costly to an organization and can certainly damage your image as a supervisor.  Don’t lose the earned trust from your good employees by keeping some that are less deserving.  However, whatever you decide, do think this firing process through.

4 Signs telling you it’s time to let go 

  • Low performance or progress in assigned tasks and projects from that staff member.
  • Trust is inexistent or has been damaged between you and that employee.
  • Processes or policies are being disrespected by the employee in question.
  • If the staff member has a poor attitude and influence negatively other employees around him/her.

Do set-up a deadline:  if the right thing to do is to give your employee a chance to turn things around, then you should be as specific as possible in your expectations.  Write down the goals or expected improvements and try to quantify as much as possible so it is measurable at the end of the grace period (30 days is usual standard).  You should always validate your plan with upper management or a human resources representative.

Open discussion: Make sure you do tell your employee involved exactly what is going to happen and when.  As a supervisor, it is a safe idea to always have a third person assisting with that meeting when addressing the at fault employee.  Make sure you communicate honestly and clearly the expectations and deadlines. Please allow time for the employee involved to ask any questions they may have.   Although this meeting might be difficult, both parties should leave knowing exactly what will happen if the situation does not change.

Follow-up: during the grace period, you are allowing to your employee, do monitor them but also ask them how they are doing.  You are basically giving them this last chance to show you what they are made of.  If no real improvement is noticed, you should truly start the process of hiring for their replacement.  Also, of course, you should have a final meeting with the employee you are letting go to explain how they were not able to measure to the organization’s expectations.

Clear communication once again with your staff is the key.  Regular feedback and occasional meetings to set some exceptions straight are necessary.  At the end, as a supervisor and direct representative of the firm you are working for, you might have to take some unpleasant and delicate decisions, like letting people go…That is life.

Michael Klein is a premier writer and speaker on all aspects of human capital.  As VP Operations for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. Michael was awarded, The New York State Small Business Growth Award; presented by Governor George Pataki.  Additionally, Michael has successfully grown and sold multiple firms. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact Michael at 646-350-3015 or michael@kdsstaffing.com.

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