12 Reasons to Fire an Employee
Q: How do I know that it’s time to fire an employee? When is enough, enough?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization composed of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
A: No Call/No Show
"This past week I let someone go for a no call/no show. In the service industry, employees have to show up to make money. Always document on a disciplinary report basic reasons. For example: On Saturday, January 21, 2012 (Employee) did not arrive to work or call the managers to indicate she was unable to come to work. Too much more can get you into legal trouble."
A: Integrity Is Essential
"If the employee has broken their integrity to the company, shame on the company — perhaps you need to have the conversation on how important it is to keep integrity. But if the employee breaks integrity a second time, shame on the employee. There is no need to give them another chance; this is the time to find someone else."
A: Take Action When Actionable Feedback Is Ignored
"Making mistakes is a pivotal part of an employee's learning and growth. When they happen, it's an opportunity to tell the employee what went wrong, provide coaching to curb future mistakes, and make clear what future success will look like and create a timeline for its achievement. Then, if an employee does not uphold his or her end of the performance improvement plan, you can take action."
A: The Proof Is on the Page!
"The best practice I've implemented in my business is an expectations and agreement letter with my employees. This way everything is discussed and known in advance. Here's what I expect. Here's what happens if you follow through. Here's exactly what happens if you don't. Expect the best, but do prepare for the worst. That way, you don't act out of emotion — it's decided in advance."
A: Hire Slow, Fire Fast
"No leader has ever fired an employee and then said to themselves, ‘I wish I would have waited six more months before firing that person.’ If you're spending a significant amount of time considering this option, it means you should have already fired them. We are biologically programmed to avoid conflict, so we rationalize poor performance for far longer than we should. No more excuses."
A: Fire the Un-Fired Up
"People who work for startups should be passionate and have fire in them about what they do and how they are helping a small company grow into something big. The second you realize that this passion is gone from the employee (which can be noticed through a dramatic shift in how they approach their job) it's time for them to go. You want people in it for the long haul with you. "
A: Rethinking Your Hiring Process
"First off, you should never fire someone who has been with you less than a year. That is a poor hiring decision and you should rethink your hiring process. But, alas, some people start to slack off or move off course. If that were the case, monitor their time spent with the group. That's the most important — time!"
A: Nothin' but Net
"Consider the employee's net effect on your company: by being there, are they helping the company or hurting it? Consider the impact of any blunders they've made; what the company has missed out on because of work they haven't done; of additional demands or time pressures their poor performance puts on you; and their effect on your other employees. Also consider the burden of hiring someone new."
A: What Does Your Team Think?
"In a small company, your team's happiness and attitude are absolutely critical. Having high performers is important, but having a high performer who spoils the mood of the team is never worth it. Make sure that everyone is aligned in your culture — if someone does not fit and will not adapt, you have to let them go for the benefit of the whole."
A: Where's the Drive?
"My team is fairly autonomous — when something needs to be done, I'm not going to offer a lot of instructions unless there's a reason that it can only be done one way. But that means that team members have to be ambitious. They have to push themselves. If that drive isn't there, I want them off of my team as fast as possible."
A: Employees = ROI
"You pay for the service of your employees. You must determine that in doing so, that employee generates a return on your payment. Otherwise the economics of the system don't work. Once an employee becomes a distraction and sucks others into the vortex, it’s time to cut them loose. As an employer, ROI is the metric, and to run a profitable company, the sails have to be tight."
A: Trust Your Intuition
"When an employee's situation changes and you both feel it's the right time to shift the way you have been working together, trust your intuition. If you've been getting that nagging feeling that something isn't right, first talk to the employee about what feels off. Give them a chance to improve, and if that doesn't work, trust your gut."