Firing an Employee – Part I

To Fire or Not to Fire, That Is the Question

(Part One of a Two-Part Series)

A bored employee talks on the phone and files her nails.No business owner wants to fire an employee, but if this question has been on your mind it’s important to answer and act. Keeping a poor employee on your payroll does you no good; one rule of good business ownership is to hire well and fire quickly. But you don’t want to be rash. So how do you know when it’s time to give an employee the boot? Ask yourself if the employee-in-question does the following:

1. Repeats the same mistakes.Everyone makes mistakes, but repeating the same ones over and over again shows disrespect for the employer and a sloppy work ethic.2. Disregards protocol or company policy.You establish rules for a reason and when employees disregard them they’re putting you and your business at risk. This disregard is disrespectful and illustrates a lack of loyalty to your company.3. Blames others.In rare circumstances it’s understandable for an employee to tattle on another. But habitual blaming is a problem. A mature employee takes responsibility for his/her mistakes and avoids pointing fingers at others. Blaming colleagues, managers, business owners, and anyone else shows an inability to be accountable for his/her own actions.4. Is regularly late for work and meetings.Punctuality is important. If you can’t expect an employee to be present when they’re scheduled to be, you also can’t share crucial information and assignments at your convenience. And you shouldn’t be expected to manage your employees at their convenience either.5. Is a distraction.It’s always fun to work with employees who have a good sense of humor or are good conversationalists. That shouldn’t, however, get in the way of their responsibilities or the responsibilities of their colleagues. Sometimes a work-clown can cause more trouble than they’re worth.6. Doesn’t complete projects on time.This costs you money and should be a definite decision point. You need reliable employees that contribute to your success rather than detract from it.7. Is highly critical.No one likes a Negative Nelly, especially when the constant complaining generates negative energy in the work place. All that negativity can be contagious and create disgruntled employees who have chosen to side with your questionable employee.8. Avoids difficult or unpleasant tasks.Every job has its fair share of difficult or unpleasant tasks. But a good employee does them anyway, recognizing that those tasks are as important as the more enjoyable ones.9. Doesn’t exhibit professionalism.Dressing inappropriately, giving poor customer service, and treating you disrespectfully are all examples of unprofessional behavior. And because impressions do matter in your line of work, you don’t want a lack of professionalism to make your business look bad.10. Doesn’t volunteer for new projects or volunteers for projects and does them improperly.You don’t want an employee who never volunteers for assignments. You also don’t want an employee who volunteers for assignments and then performs them improperly. Both scenarios are cause for concern.

Does your questionable employee exhibit three or more of the above characteristics? If so it’s time to take action and remedy the problem before it costs you more money. And if you’ve corrected the employee and given him/her an opportunity to make the necessary adjustments, you need to consider other options. Come back next week when we’ll discuss how to fire problematic employees.