Terminating an employee is never easy. No matter how much experience or management training you have, it will always be a tough decision to make. Many of us think:

“I can’t terminate this person because I don’t have time to find somebody new and train them.”

“I really like this person and I don’t want to let him go.”

“I know their performance will get better.”

“It’s my fault they’re not performing”.

When we must make this decision, many questions run through our minds and then perhaps we start thinking that terminating this employee can put your company in hot water, it can disrupt the work environment, and it could end up costing the company more than just money. So, how do we make this type of challenging decision confidently?

First, you need to have a practical and fair process to assist you in reducing your company’s liability. Second, you need to ensure that you have given the employee plenty of time, adequate training, and the tools needed to improve. After all, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training a new employee is very costly and a key part of your job is to build a team that does great work and delivers results.

You may be thinking about terminating your employee on impulse because they seem disinterested or unmotivated to complete their assigned tasks effectively; however, before doing so make sure there are no other options available first.

Tips When Considering an Employee’s Termination

1. Take time away from the situation and come back with fresh eyes later when logical thoughts are more readily accessible.

2. Sit down with a trusted colleague and ponder the below questions with the employee in question, in mind.

These questions will help ensure you are being objective about the situation. They will help you gain clarity, a deeper understanding, and help you identify the root cause of the employee issue so you can take the opportunity to correct it and improve upon it.

On a scale of one to ten, with ten being exceptionally good and one being really poor, where is the individual’s performance today?

What specifically is the individual doing that’s actually benefiting the project, the team, or the company?

What specifically are they doing or not doing that’s hindering the project, the team, or the company?

If you find that the person to be terminated is coachable, remember, it’s up to them whether or not they want to rise to the occasion and succeed within the company.

Sit down with them, discuss the issues, and create an action plan. Let them know the current state of the situation is less than ideal, and termination may be an option, but you want to extend them the opportunity to course correct. Make sure they understand they need to be the one responsible for turning things around.

If after all viable options have been exhausted and you have gotten less than desirable results, then you know that your decision to terminate the employee is reasonable and just. At the end of the day, you still need to do your job effectively and that may mean making this tough decision.

When terminating an employee, you have a lot on the line. You need to think about how this will affect your company’s liability, as well as what is best for both parties in the situation. Before making any rash decisions that may seem logical at first glance, take some time and consider all of the implications so you can make a decision with your head held high.

And if you are currently working through these tough questions and need support, don’t hesitate to reach out via email to me at [email protected]. We’ll get a conversation started and get you through it so you can feel confident about your decision.