How To Know It’s Time To Fire Your Employee?

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Letting an employee go is not easy.  In fact it’s one of the hardest tasks a business owner is faced with when dealing with human resources. After all, you are handling the other person’s livelihood. It makes it even harder when you know that the person is facing difficult personal issues.  In addition, the fact that this situation is also as  stressful on you and your remaining employees as it is on the employee being terminated.

Very often, you tend to procrastinate because it’s such a hard decision to make. Nonetheless, there are signs your employee is displaying symptoms you should not ignore.

Let me share with you the five most revealing signs upon which you need to cut the cord and let go of your employee.

1. Productivity  Decline

If your employee seems to be spending more time in breaks or on tasks that are not important, it’s time to bring that employee in for a chat. Talk to them about their sudden change in behaviour. Provide examples and be in tune with their body language. If their answers are not conclusive, chances are that they are not an employee you want to keep

2. Disaffection

When your employee starts missing work or if they are usually talkative and suddenly becomes secretive, it’s time for you to check in. Also, be in tune with changes in behaviour such as passion and willingness to do well in their job. A lack of passion in the job is normally noticed during down time.  If you continue noticing disaffection, it’s time for you to make a decision about that employee.

3. Unreasonable Demands

When your employee becomes dissatisfied with either their jobs or their work environments, they’ll may start making unrealistic demands.  If you find this to be the case, ask them how they intend to use it. Ask them what different outcomes they plan to achieve their desired outcome. Their answer will give you a good sense of where their mind is at

4. Apathy

Employee apathy is often overlooked since those who exhibit this characteristic tend not to be noticed, which is exactly their goal.  However (and obviously), the nonchalant attitudes of apathetic employees can eventually cause problems. As you may know, apathy is a contagious behaviour. There are several causes of employee apathy, but fortunately there are things business owners can do to overcome this obstacle.  To be more specific, meet with the employee and if you find out the employee has no personal issues, chances are their behaviour is related to work.

 3. Disagreements

Disagreements can be healthy if they lead to added value. Disagreements can also be violent and disruptive because they tend to “stir the pot”. When your employee wishes to argue for the simple act of releasing aggression and being disruptive, it’s time for a chat. Find out what the issue is and get an understanding of their motives. If the answers are not conclusive, it’s time to cut the cord.

The hiring and firing of employees are tough business decisions. This is especially true when you’re trying to create an environment of trust and ease. Make sure you treat the employee with dignity and respect. Get to the point and explain briefly the business decision. The shorter your message, the better. Offer your employee outplacement services and if they are not disruptive, offer them the opportunity to say good bye to their co-workers. Should the employee lose control and become verbally abusive, ask them to vacate the building immediately. Do not get upset. It is important for your remaining employees that you handle the situation with respect for yourself and the employee being let go.

Of course, the process of firing an employee is never easy regardless of how well you plan or despite all the precautions you’ve taken. If you adhere to these guidelines, you may find that it can go better than expected.


If you are a small business and would like to stop losing time and money on future hiring mistakes, tweet me on TWITTER, like me on FACEBOOK join me on LINKED IN – and let’s talk. Check our Human Resources Consulting services . We are Human Resources Specialists.




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