Is It Time To Let Your Employee Go?
As a manager, you are constantly evaluating the performance of each of your employees. That is your main role – to support each of your team members to perform at their best. What happens when you have an employee whose performance is not meeting expectations?
It’s important that you address performance issues as soon as you notice them.
Mainly because it helps the employee perform better, and poor performance
also impacts the performance of the other team members.
There are three main areas a manager operates within when working with individual team members: coach, counsel or terminate. What constitutes each area of management?
What is coaching? Inspiring your team to perform at expected levels by personalizing teaching to each individual on the team, as well as creating effective working environments for each person to perform at their highest level.
This is especially noticeable when you have a new hire, an employee who takes on new responsibilities or is learning new skills, as you support them in these areas. Coaching is an ongoing effort on the part of the manager. It’s a great tool to help the employee do their best as well as insure continuous learning. A coach sets the standards and keeps employees accountable for the quality in the delivery.
Building your coaching experience helps you create a stronger team, one that participates at a higher level in the growth of your employees as well as the business, and supports you in meeting your business objectives. Your role is to guide them towards higher performance and primarily using your coaching skills allows you to help your employees create solutions for their own performance.
This process is used when you notice that there is a problem with the employee’s performance or conduct in the workplace. It is important to set time aside to privately and respectfully inform the employee what the issue is, discuss how best the problem can be solved, and, if appropriate, identify the necessary support mechanisms (i.e., mentoring, training) to help resolve the situation.
At this time, the manager should make sure the employee is aware of the problem and impress upon the employee the importance and necessity of correcting the problem. Most employees will respond positively from this meeting and correct the problem. If the problem continues, you may need to make a different decision. It is strongly recommended that managers retain a written record of counseling, including the date, the subject(s) discussed, and expectations communicated to the employee, and how the employee’s performance will be monitored.
Always document, document, document when you meet an individual around performance. Even though most states are “at will,” employment laws still want you to show justification for terminations, so as to protect employee rights.
You are responsible for setting expectations, guiding employees and
keeping them accountable. The employee is responsible for
completing quality and timely work and treating others with respect
throughout the process.
You have put time aside on several occasions to support and guide the employee to either increase their performance or change their behavior. At some point, you have to decide whether you need to let the person go. Here are some questions you can ask to determine whether this is the direction you need to go:
- Has their performance increased or have they rectify behaviors that were impacting business? If you noticed they seem to be getting better, you may decide to hold on to them for a while.
- Are they continuously vocal around their dissatisfaction with the job?
- Is their skill or knowledge at the standards required in order to be successful in the role and you no longer need to monitor their performance?
- Sometimes changes in business eliminates the skills or knowledge that the employee brought to the company. If you can transition that person into another role, great. If not, you will need to decide.
- Is the employee late coming to work, late with projects and doesn’t seem motivated to give their best?
- Always need to ask yourself — do they know what to do, did they receive proper training, and do they have the skills and tools to do the job?
- Are you consistently having to keep them accountable to their deliverables?
- Do you feel they have an “attitude?” If their behavior is troublesome, be very specific around what is a problem. Don’t say “attitude,” rather state “they roll their eyes or constantly complain about what they have to do.”
If after coaching, counseling and evaluating their overall performance or behaviors and you feel they will not be able to move forward, then you need to make the difficult decision to start the termination process.
- Manager will create the final termination document, setting forth the reason(s) why employment is being terminated.
- Decide when and where to hold the termination meeting. Select a private location, away from view by other employees. Better times are at the end of the day to minimize interaction with coworkers. The middle of the week is preferable to a Friday, when the employee will have the weekend ahead to brood over the termination.
- Anticipate and be prepared for the employee’s reaction to the termination – are their security issues?
- Notify HR/Help Desk to secure the computer and telephone systems, security badges, passwords, keycards, and other company property.
- Plan for the employee to get personal items from the work area.
- Create a list of all people who will be affected by this termination and decide where the work is to go after the person leaves.
- Plan the message for notifying clients and employees who work with the impacted employee.
- Arrange for a representative from Human Resources to be present. If that is not possible, have another manager or supervisor be present.
- Stay focused on communicating the facts of the decision – do not let the discussion become personal. Focus on the issue and not on the person.
- Be ready for the employee’s reaction and let her/him vent a little, though put a small time limit on this because it’s a final decision.
- Do not allow for negotiation, as the decision has been made and is final.
After completing the termination, it’s time to review your recruiting practices to insure that the vetting process was thorough and complete.
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