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Uncomfortable Firing Problem Employee? Get Over It!

Uncomfortable Firing Problem Employee? Get Over It!

Nina Kaufman /

June 18, 2008

Yes, it sounds very Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque, but most business owners face the point when they have to look an employee squarely in the eye and say, “You’ve been terminated.” Does the prospect make you uncomfortable? Probably. Should you avoid it and mollycoddle the employee in the hopes of a turnaround? Absolutely not.

There comes a point where no amount of training, pleading or cajoling will change an underperforming employee. And you need to be careful that you don’t give more “breaks” to, say, a young white male employee than you do to a female Chinese employee who’s over 40.

Problem employees generate three major headaches:

• They may actively foment discord and try to sabotage the workplace (or sit on their butts and do as little work as possible).

• They may harm your relationships with customers and suppliers.

• They may play the “waiting game”–and the longer you wait to get rid of them, the harder it is to dislodge them.

All this may sound cruel and callous . . . but it’s a hard reality of building a business and needing to rely on employees.

You can protect yourself in several ways:

• Have a careful screening process so that you choose someone with the skills and temperament that fit your company and the needs of the position.

• Set clear guidelines for how performance will be measured.

• Create a process for regular performance reviews.

• Generate written reviews for the employee’s file.

• Speak to an employment attorney or HR specialist to get guidance on how to steer clear of the federal and state laws against discrimination and other prohibited employee practices.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 7:05 am and is filed under Employees. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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