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Human Resource Tips: 5 Bad Reasons To Avoid A Termination

By July 19, 2012February 19th, 2015No Comments

Employee terminationRecruiting and staffing are an opportunity to add new ideas and talent to your organization.  Bringing in ‘new blood’ with fresh ideas and perspectives may re-engage existing workers as well. Sometimes, you may recognize that an employee isn’t performing as well as you had hoped and after being given sufficient time to improve, the problem employee still hasn’t improved.

Perhaps you want to avoid “rocking the apple cart”?

There are hidden costs to a poorly performing employee that extent beyond the individual:

  • Accepting poor performance sends a negative message to your key performers
  • Other associates are forced to pick up the slack
  • Implications exist for negative effect on profit, reputation and culture

Yet, even understanding the risks, there are some common reasons why its difficult to take a hard look at terminating the individual.  Human resources professionals should work with managers to be sure that they are not avoiding firing a person due to these 4 reasons:

  1. I don’t have anyone else.  This is a sad excuse.  Of course you won’t have someone else to fill in right away, however, hasn’t everyone been filling in already?  Think what the loss of the individual would mean in terms of a short term situation.  In today’s economic environment you are likely to find a new job candidate who would be eager for the opportunity.  Having a person in the position who is fully engaged and contributing will have long term impact on your company.  Plus, if you have systems in place and a clear process that can be followed there is always a solution to bring in temporary staff until you do recruit and find the right person.
  2. She is the only person who knows how to…  Wow.  How did you wind up at this juncture where you only have one person who knows how to do that job.  This points out a bigger issue, and that is the need to document the processes and create an operations manual.  The members of a team should be cross-trained to provide backup is anyone is out sick. Even in a small office, there should be more than one person who can pick up a task and handle it.
  3. The employee will sue me if I let him go.  You need to be aware of what the appropriate steps are to take to terminate an individual as well as the laws that govern these for your state.  If you are in compliance with the law, you minimize any risk of litigation.
  4. I don’t have time to find a replacement.  There are many recruiting firms who can help to create a clear job description and profile of the appropriate candidate for the job.  This would include evaluating what skills are necessary and determine whether the candidates have the level of talent and training that would be acceptable to do the job.  In many circumstances, the services are much less costly than taking the time away from the operation of the company and can find wonderful candidates who may not have been uncovered otherwise. In addition, having a professional screen the candidates weeds out the bulk and refines the list to two or three top candidates who match the needs of the job.
  5.  We are friends, and I’d feel bad.  Understandably when a business starts out, there are friends and friend of friends who wind up in positions because they were available at the time.  As the company grows, the mismatch between the person an the position may become more pronounced.  If this is the case, it’s true, it’s difficult to fire a family member or a friend.  Bringing in a third party to evaluate the employees and make those hard decisions may be the best way to avoid being the the hot seat and making those tough decisions.  You can retain your friendship if this is done in a way that the third party is “blamed”, leaving the personal relationship off the table.

Remember the expression “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”?  It’s true that a bad attitude and poor performer who is allowed to continue will impact the rest of the employees and have a negative impact on your bottom line.

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