Scared to Sack Your Employee?

When you have a small business, in fact any size business, you can't afford to keep poor workers on the pay roll just because you employed them in the first place.

Let's face it, we all make mistakes. Sometimes someone sounds ideal for the role when interviewing them and once they are actually doing the day to day work, we realise that either they are simply not up to it, or it isn't the right fit.

The key is to bite the bullet and take action as soon as you realise that they are not suitable for the role. This is easier said than done for most people. I have worked in an organisation who kept on a completely incompetent employee for more than three years when they never should have been employeed for more than a month. The excuses the boss made for not sacking the individual were many and varied including:

  • they're still getting used to the role
  • I've cautioned them and they seem to be behaving better this week
  • they weren't feeling well today
  • I was going to do it today but they were away sick
  • they've just had a death in the family
  • I haven't had time

As Donald Trump says, its not personal, its business. Consider that an incompetent employee makes more work for other staff, disrupts morale within the workplace, has the potential to make mistakes which cause significant financial loss to the company, and is not receiving any favours from you if they think they are fulfilling a role competently when in actual fact they are not.

There are ways and means to dismiss staff.

Firstly, when employing staff be clear as to the expectations of their role. You can't dismiss someone for failing to do their job when no one is clear on what their job actually is!

Secondly, if you have someone on a three or six month trial period, meet with them regularly and review both their experience and your expectations. Don't leave it until the end of the trial period to conduct a review.

Thirdly, if they are not working out and you don't intend to keep them past the end of the trial period, let them know. You might think that it is better to keep them in the business for the whole of that period so as to avoid having to find someone new until later, but neither your business nor the employee are likely to benefit from prolonging an unworkable situation.

If you just never got around to telling someone that you did not intend to keep them on during their trial period, then look at providing training and mentoring as an avenue to assist them in becoming capable of fulfilling the role. Review regularly and reasonably. Keep a record of progress. Highlight fundamental requirements of the role that are not being met and provide the employee with an opportunity to meet those requirements.

The main point is that if you don't tell an employee where they are not meeting expectations and provide them with a reasonable opportunity to shape up, you can't turn around and ask them to ship out and expect no repercussions!

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