While participating in a management meeting, I witnessed an intense discussion about whether Alex, a long-time employee, should be terminated. Most admitted concern about Alex’s performance but several were hesitant fire Alex.
Managers who argued for keeping Alex made statements like: “Alex has been with us for a long time.” “Technology has changed his job a lot.” “He’s not a bad person.”
Managers struggle with termination decisions because they realize employees need income for food, clothing, and shelter; and often, to support family members. Peers, even though they realize that their workload is overburdened by a slacker, may still worry about the forever absence of a work associate.
Below are four signals to clarify the appropriate time for pressing the termination button.
The low-performing employee . . .
- . . . is unresponsive to coaching and training.
- . . . shows little or no enthusiasm for the job.
- . . . complains excessively about managers’ decisions.
- . . . has shown little, or no, improvement for six months.
If any one of the four statements apply, a caring termination is likely better for both the company and the employee.