Three behaviors that will tell you when the time for an employee termination is right

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

Clues to stop salvage operations and start the employee termination process

Think about problem employees as weeds. There are some signals that people send that indicate that they just don’t want to be a part of the team anymore. These three signs suggest that employee just isn’t willing to contribute constructively anymore. And it doesn’t have to be all three of these. Any one of these can lead us to the conclusion that it’s time to fire that employee.

  1. Denial.
  2. If you talk to an employee about a behavioral or performance issue and they deny it. They’ll say anything to just deny that they’re responsible. They’ll blame it on someone else, they’ll say it’s your problem not theirs. No matter what you do, an employee insists that it’s not their fault. No one’s going to work toward a solution to a problem they don’t admit to. There’s the first clue it time for an employee termination. But some people are smarter than that. They’re not going to deny it to your face.

  3. Inconsistent work patterns.
  4. Say you go and talk to an employee about an issue and they admit it and say they’ll work on it. After that they’re good for six weeks and then they’re back at it again. So you go and talk to them again, and again they’re good for six weeks and they’re back at it again. At that point it becomes this roller coaster ride you have to go on with this employee. That’s another clue. In that situation your best bet is an employee termination for your own benefit and for that of the team.

  5. Continual coworker complaints.
  6. To your face as the manager, this guy is fine. He or she is just delightful. But then may be you start to hear a different story from good employees, people I know and trust. They start to tell you that this supposedly delightful employee is criticizing you behind your back, and being rude to you and other employees.

In the past the rule has been that you have to wait until you actually observe it to start an employee termination. No, you don’t. As a manager, once you are convinced this is going on, you can take action. So that’s when you sit down with the employee in question and let him know his constant complaining about the company, about coworkers, about management is not appreciated. It must stop. They don’t have to know who it is that’s complaining about them. They have no legal right to face their accuser. And you’ll know when they’ve stopped when you stop getting complaints from coworkers. If you still get complaints, it’s time to make the move for employee termination.

So any one of these clues lets you know all right my chances of salvaging this employee are pretty slim. Some managers then resort to the claim that the law won’t let them fire an employee. They start claiming that over-regulation is preventing them from dealing with their problem employees. If you feel like over-regulation won’t let you fire an employee when you need to, then there’s bad news on the horizon. Because things are in a position now where you’re only going to see more regulation, not less. None of the regulations that have been signed into law in the last six months, nor anything that’s on the horizon is unmanageable. You may not like the idea but there’s only going to be more regulation of employee termination.

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

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