The Employee Engagement Blog

The Employee Engagement Blog

6 Signs That It Might Be Time to Let an Employee Go

Posted by Stephen Spiegel on Dec 21, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Terminating an employee is a delicate business

Nobody wants to terminate an employee, but the longer you keep an ineffective employee on, the longer your team’s performance is bound to suffer. Recognizing the symptoms of a problematic staff member can help you navigate the emotional waters of employee termination.

6 signs it’s time for a change

Knowing when to terminate an employee isn’t always as clear as a disaster — furthermore, the tensions surrounding a difficult employee can easily cloud judgment on both sides. Understanding what to look for can accelerate the process, and help you part ways.

  1. Poor performance. Whether it be customer complaints or struggling to keep up with deadlines, few companies can afford weak links. It’s just as important to monitor performance as it is to give performance reviews when employees aren’t living up to their expectations. If, despite their efforts to improve, they’re still not up to speed, it’s time to make a change. Chances are, it’ll also be a relief for the employee.
  2. Stagnation. Don’t mistake this for job satisfaction. Just because an employee is content with their job, doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to grow. However, employees who show little to no interest in improving their skills probably aren’t going to be as engaged in their career as those who do. They’re also less likely to make meaningful contributions as employees who seek to improve.
  3. Policy violations. Your company rules were established for a reason. While unintended violations from time to time can be expected and excusable, intentionally going against company policy is a sign of trouble.
  4. Source of conflict. Some people simply aren’t personable — others may not be emotionally stable enough to handle the stress of their job. Drama-causing employees drain morale and compromise your staff’s ability to function well as a team.
  5. Not a good match. Some company cultures lend themselves more to specific personalities. If your staff is serious and strict, a more casual employee might feel out of place. After several unsuccessful attempts at finding a department that fits, it’s probably time to part ways.
  6. Poor time management. An employee who’s constantly late, leaves early, or spends too much time socializing on the job, well, they’re not doing their job. This damages productivity, and costs your company money.

Sometimes it’s not their fault

Successful leaders know how to motivate their staff. When an employee is satisfied with their job, and engaged, they’re unlikely to fall into any of the above criteria. While the line between satisfaction and engagement might be hard to define, one often leads to the other.

To learn more about the distinction between satisfaction and engagement, visit our blog, “Satisfaction or Employee Engagement?”

Topics: employee reinforcement, employee termination