Prevent Having to Fire an Employee
The first step is to prevent needing to fire the employee in the first place. In the interview, and again on day one, you should be setting their expectations to avoid any surprises. Go through, in detail, what will get them a promotion and what will get them fired. If your employee is not meeting your expectations you need to have a conversation with them and see what you can do to help them succeed. If after some time, you have truly tried to help yet they are still not meeting expectations, they need a formal write-up. You will need a paper trail to protect yourself in case it comes time to end their tenure with your company, this should also serve as a final warning to the employee to shape up or ship out.
How to Know When it Time to Fire an Employee
Results should not be the only factor in determining whether to part ways with someone. If someone is selling millions of dollars in surgery but is clearly showing up to work inebriated, results are not the only factor in keeping them on board. If you have questions, check-in with the team. We bet they know what’s going on in the day-to-day minutia more than you do. Listen to them, while a small disagreement can easily be resolved, a repeated violation of your company values should reveal that they are not the right fit for your team. Your employees are more likely to reveal their true colors to their peers and subordinates than to the head honcho. We have seen office managers who seem pleasant, but scream curses and insults at employees as soon as they think nobody is watching.
Once you have decided that Lucy is just not a good fit for your team, dodge these common objections by asking yourself these questions:
- They’ve been here forever: What does loyalty entitle us to? Just because they’ve shown up to work every day does not nullify their sub-par performance.
- They have experience: Will you be able to find someone else with experience? It may take some time to find and train them, especially in this job market, but we are pretty sure you will find someone to replace the toxic employee.
- I don’t want to train someone new: Is your time now worth the result in a few months when you have a happily humming practice? It might mean putting in some extra hours for a few weeks, but that time will be repaid tenfold when you have a well-functioning team supporting you.
- They are going through a tough time: Is their personal situation the problem or a symptom? It is good to be understanding of your employee’s personal struggles, however, when you give one employee a longer leash, others will have to take up the slack. Be fair to them as well.
When it comes time to fire, remember: be nice always, but especially when there is a good reason. Your people are watching and will judge you based on how you react to this so make sure you proceed in a tactful manner. Don’t allow the firing of one employee to sour your relationship with the others.