It can be emotionally and legally challenging to fire an employee

by on May 29, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Managers will tell you the last thing they want to do is fire an employee

Emotionally a manager doesn’t want to fire an employee. It’s funny, because it seems like employees all want to be supervisors. They all wish they could be the boss. They want to be the manager. They think it would be so cool to be able to wake every morning and come into work with the knowledge that they can fire an employee if they wanted. They think that is fun. They dream of having that sense of leadership, that feeling of control and power.

The last thing they want to do
Then if you ask the managers and the CEOs. They’ll tell you the last thing they want to do is fire an employee. They can’t stand the thought of firing an employee. They’re willing to put up with unbelievable amount of unnecessary behavior and performance issues, just because they dread the thought of having to fire an employee. But good people know who the bad ones are. They know that management knows who the bad employees are, too. Good employees are looking toward managers, expecting them to do something about it. Granted, if you’re a bigger company you can probably afford to have some difficult people, you could just take them and shuffle them into different areas where they won’t cause trouble. But smaller companies don’t have that kind of luxury. In smaller companies, the troublesome employees stick out more. During good times we could carry some problem people. What we’re learning in tough times is I can’t afford to carry some of these people. Now, we’re having trouble because we have to go through a reduction in force but then that involves maybe some good people where some of the problem workers are being swept up in that. And this sends the wrong message.

Implied Contract
There’s this concept called an implied contract. Many states now honor this implied contract. If a company allows inefficiency to go on for a period of time, then they’ve established that it’s okay for that behavior, for that performance to continue. It usually starts with just one person and if that person gets away with it for long enough, then eventually it spreads to the department and on to the entire company. Then it becomes really tough to control. It’s possible to break the implied contract but you’ve got to do it actively.

So, as unpleasant as it is, you’re going to have to eventually fire an employee. Before you go through a reduction in force you’ll want to make sure that you’ve done everything you possibly can to deal with the problem employees that are currently on the books. There are emotional issues tied to this, and there are certainly legal issues as well, but it isn’t only possible, but it’s also necessary to fire an employee for the sake of the good ones you have and wish to keep.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar: “Yes, You Can Fire Without Fear! What Every Supervisor Needs to Know” by Hunter Lott on April 29, 2009

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.