I happened to run into a person that I never met or communicated with the other night at Ignite Phoenix. I was volunteering to help out the Ignite Phoenix team put on another outstanding event. It was their 13th one… I must get back to the subject of my post. This person came up to me, introduced themselves and then talked about how he has read my blogs and had a management question for me. He asked, “when do you know it is time to get rid of an employee?” He pointed out that I had never added a post to my blog about that very subject. Definitely was a good topic to add. So here it goes…
When I think back to my experiences, dismissing an employee is one of a managers most difficult tasks (or it should be). You go through the interviewing, hiring, training and working with an employee with the hopes that everything will work out well. Well, that is the way we would all like to see it. The last thing on your mind, is dismissing someone that you have invested time and money in. So, what are those signs that you need to say “it is time?”
- Work not getting done: Let’s face it, this is a no brainer. If a person is not getting their work completed on-time or within acceptable standards – much further discussion must happen quickly. Figuring out the what, why and how things will improve are critical for getting back on track. Setting up recovery plans or corrective action plans (just depends on your particular companies actions) need to happen. Always document discussions, plans and progress to plans – it is in both parties best interest.
- Lack of enthusiasm: As a manager, you can see when a persons level of interest or passion starts to vary from their past. When you start to witness this, you now have yet another red flag. Let’s face it, from time to time there are much more going on then just work. Getting distracted or missing that usual spark happens to everyone from time to time. A simple, “I’ve noticed that you are not your usual self. What is up?” works for the moment. When you start to see that enthusiasm continue to be lacking then it maybe time.
- Being late or calling in absent: When you have already pointed out that work is not getting done. When you have asked the questions about “what’s up?” If you haven’t already noticed, you will soon. The commitment level of getting to work will start to diminish.
- Complaining becomes the only communication: From time to time, people will complain about something. We all have stuff that we would like to see better. What I am talking about is almost every communication that comes from an employee that is in trouble – they will start to complain about every little item. Especially, everything that they can focus on that could potentially point to a reason why they are not working well. I like to call it the coming up with excuses (or maybe rationalizing their upcoming dismissal).
- Team’s morale is hit: Everything that I have written about in my blog points to the groups that I have led as a team. We are that! When my team is effected by a person’s performance and behavior it definitely points to a sign that it is about time to dismiss the problem. A well working team can not overcome a person that is dragging them down. Try as they might, it just does not happen.
There is other, more immediate reasons like safety, not calling into work when being absent, failing background checks or failing a drug test.
My focus has been on the performance management and those signs that when you all have tried but can’t move forward. Waiting too long is not good… The team will see that you, as the leader, are weak. Now that you know it is time, you have to pull the trigger. Of course, you have to make sure that you have done everything that you can. Most companies have a process for following through to insure you have legally done everything. Make sure that early on, you are following those steps. My only word of caution is – document everything along the way…