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Employee Termination: When and Why

Posted by Bailey Wong on Fri, Mar 17, 2017

Terminating an employee is never a task managers enjoy or seek to do, but occasionally it has to be done. For those of you that think letting a subpar employee skate by is easier than confronting the issues straight on, give it enough time and you'll wish you terminated that employee months ago. There's nothing worse than waiting for an employee to quit while they poison the rest of the business. So, when is it time to cut ties? Some key indicators are...

1. Performance - This includes the quality and quantity of tasks and assignments an individual is responsible for. If the basic needs and standards of the company aren't being met, even after multiple trainings and discussions of ways to improve the workload, it's time to re-evaluate the situation. Poor performance can cause frustration throughout the office when other people have to pick up the slack and continuously correct others' mistakes.

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2. Attitude - Are your employees recognized for their positive attitude and friendly demeanor, or are they known for their drama and pessimistic behavior? It only takes one person with a bad attitude to cause problems. Many people spend just as much time at work as they do at home, so it's important to have a workplace were employees can get their work done without Negative Ned constantly killing the good vibes. Not to mention, bad attitudes are a sure way to lose those customers you worked so hard to get.

3. Integrity - When you lookup integrity in the dictionary it states, "soundness of moral character; honesty". Do your employees clock in and out when they're supposed to? Do they use sick time when they're "sick"? Are company policies being upheld when utilizing company equipment, phones, laptops, etc? Although we never want to think the worst from our peers/employees, it's important to keep an eye out for compromised integrity. This is a trait all management staff need to remember to exercise because the little things could lead up to the big things (read our blog on When does a threat become an Insider Threat?).

4. Reliability - Health problems and any unforeseen accidents or weather conditions are understandable to an extent, but excessive absences and lateness should not be tolerated. As an employer, you still have a business to run, clients to serve, and other employees to pay. If you have an employee who is missing more work than everyone else combined, look into it a little more to find out if this is something that can be addressed. Having a decent employee who may or may not show up on time, or calls in sick, can be a bigger hassle than it's worth, especially if it's impacting the rest of the team.

As with many things, you have to take what you read here with a grain of salt. Of course, every organization has different standards and ways of operating, so where some organizations emphasize performance, others might focus on attitude and reliability. If you do decide that termination is the only way to go, a best practice is to document everything that supports your reasoning. Any union contracts should also be considered when leading up to termination or disciplinary actions.

Tags: Human Resources

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