6 Signs That It May Be Time to Fire an Employee

Firing an employee can be a very difficult decision for an employer or manager to face. Getting fired is one of the most stressful things that can happen in a person’s life, so catalyzing this event can weigh on a person’s conscience. However, firing can sometimes be necessary to maintain the health of an organization and the satisfaction of its workers.

Before making a final decision about whether to fire an employee, it can be helpful to have some guidelines to distinguish between an employee that needs extra help and one that really just needs to go.

Habitual Tardiness and Absence
If tardiness or absence is a perpetual problem with a certain employee, it’s important to speak to the employee before making the decision to fire him or her. There may be personal problems that can be addressed with scheduling changes or other means. If these types of conversations have not resolved tardiness or absence issues, it may be best to consider letting an employee go before morale and productivity are affected.

Noticeable Apathy
Apathy can be a sign that an employee isn’t feeling challenged enough, but it can also be a sign that an employee has given up on a company or is considering leaving. Before assuming that an employee has given up on their job, try to find out whether they are feeling a lack of challenge or conversely, overwhelmed and inadequately prepared to handle tasks. A simple conversation can often be instrumental in identifying the source of employee apathy.

Frequent Conflicts
If an employee is argumentative with peers or management, it may be because they are no longer satisfied with their job or are having personal problems that are affecting their work attitude. While employees should be encouraged to come up with creative solutions to problems, ideas should be expressed respectfully. Argumentative tones and behavioral issues should be addressed with progressive discipline, up to and including termination.

Performance Issues
Organizational performance can be unpredictable and multiple factors can influence it. However, if one employee’s performance has noticeably declined or is lagging way behind organizational trends, it can be concerning. Coaching should be offered before termination is considered, but termination may be necessary to protect the bottom line if performance doesn’t improve.

Unwillingness to Adapt to Changes
Changes are bound to occur within any type of organization, especially as technology develops and more efficient processes are discovered. While adapting to changes is difficult for many, a complete unwillingness to make adjustments or a poor attitude about every change that’s introduced can be warning signs that an employee isn’t going to fit into your company culture well anymore.

Lack of Development
If there are programs in place to educate employees and development is encouraged, a lack of development can be a warning sign that an employee is no longer as interested in or as loyal to your company as they may have been previously. While not every employee hopes to move into management, employees should at least show interest in learning about breaking developments relevant to their job. Employees that refuse to learn may burden a company.

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