Now that 2021 is well underway, have you found that some of your employees have been underperforming to the point where you’ve considered letting them go? Despite new practices and efforts your company may have made at the start of the year to spark better employee engagement, there will always be some workers who just aren’t successfully fulfilling their roles. If you’ve been dealing with some troubling employees, it may be time to make some cuts and trim down your team. However, knowing when to make the final decision to fire can often be the most difficult part. Here are four steps that can be taken to help you decide when it’s time to move forward with letting an employee go:
Have a private discussion.
Having a private one-on-one meeting with the employee is the first step to understanding their current mindset and how they personally feel about their performance. If the employee expresses having many struggles or challenges on the job (either personally or professionally), it’s only fair to discuss these difficulties in detail and pinpoint exactly what has been causing them to fall short on their performance. In some cases, you, as the employer, may need to make some adjustments to better accommodate a worker’s needs, such as providing more scheduling flexibility or mentorship. Based on the employee’s attitude on improving, you can determine whether they have what it takes to move forward in their role.
Often employees’ performance can suffer because they no longer understand the expectations they need to meet in fulfilling their responsibilities. It’s worth having a discussion with the employee in which you revisit shared expectations and make sure they recognize specifically what parts of their performance need attention. It’s also beneficial to work with them on setting short-term and long-term goals for improvement. Putting goals in writing – and helping the employee develop an action plan around achieving them – will make this process more intentional and ensure both parties (employer and employee) understand what needs to be done. Lastly, scheduling a meeting one or two months later to discuss the employee’s progress will hold them accountable for their performance and give you a chance to re-evaluate whether they are pulling their weight.
Provide ongoing training and development.
Effective training and development is often the foundation of employee success, and existing staff often need training and development just as much as new employees! Providing a “refresher training” every few months can be instrumental in getting underachieving employees back up to speed with new practices, procedures, and systems implemented at your workplace. Furthermore, it will give your staff the opportunity to ask questions and gain more confidence in a team-oriented setting without feeling like they have nowhere to turn for help or guidance. During this process, if you discover an underachieving employee not taking re-training seriously, this is a clear sign they may be showing little promise in making improvement or advancing within your organization.
Document and follow up.
Taking the steps above will mean very little unless you make the effort to fully document an employee’s performance and make note of their actions or behaviors of concern. With the exception of a zero-tolerance action that would call for an instant firing, everything related to an employee’s performance should be thoroughly documented by their manager(s), including performance reviews, conversations, encounters, co-worker feedback, and any major or minor situations (good or bad) that arise concerning the employee. Furthermore, after your initial meetings with the employee, it will be important to regularly check-in to see how they’re doing in terms of their performance and areas of improvement. If the employee has shown little to no progress after being given a fair chance to make changes, it’s safe to say that entering the “firing” stage will then be appropriate.
Making the decision to fire an employee is never easy; however, taking employee performance seriously will ultimately keep your company running at an optimal level – and earn you the utmost respect from your top performers. Most importantly, building a team of committed staff who continually work together to meet organizational goals will allow your organization to maintain a fair and collaborative culture.
Is your company finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain quality employees? If you’re currently growing your workforce, learn how the experienced talent acquisition experts at HH Staffing can help you build your dream team this year.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.