It can be so hard to let an employee go, even when we know that it is indeed what needs to happen. Maybe we have let it slide hoping that the situation will get better, hoping that one more talk with the employee will turn the page into a new chapter where the individual becomes a great employee. And we wait. Then there is a hiccup…again. Perhaps there have been no incidents significant enough to warrant terminating with cause (an action that can be tricky at best), and yet you don’t feel that you can keep them for fear of what might happen next. When one employee is a problem, large or small, it can affect every employee in your organization
One client I worked with had one employee that was working hard and was frustrated with all the other staff. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the employee who the client thought was working so hard was actually bullying the other staff and making up their own rules – at the employer’s expense. In fact, by keeping this one employee my client risked losing every other staff member and was paying a fortune in the process.
So what happens when you’ve held on to hope for so long you don’t think you can change things now? It is time to take action and stop condoning poor performance and negative behaviours. But keep in mind there are no magic fixes; the issue didn’t happen overnight so it likely won’t be solved overnight either.
A few options, all of which have their own risks and consequences, include:
- Discipline – Progressive discipline documenting every incident and how it was formally addressed. Document, document, document.
- Terminate – Termination without cause is usually the only option when you haven’t been documenting and don’t have a significant enough reason to fire someone. And P.S., there are very few acceptable reasons to fire someone with cause. And double P.S., this is HR information, not legal advice.
- Layoff – No, don’t lay them off! If you are just trying to get rid of an employee, you could find yourself in very hot water if you try to issue a “layoff” but the position still exists in your organization.
Every option has risks and benefits and no decision should ever be made lightly. I’ve seen good and bad terminations, and each has its own uniqueness. Connect with me and we’ll figure out what will work in your situation, bringing in additional legal advice if needed.