How To Know When To Fire Someone

fork in the road ahead

Firing someone is one of the most difficult things we can do at work. To avoid the discomfort, we may put off firing someone who really should go. We may instead help that person get better, hope they get better or (yikes!)  just tolerate.

It’s time to fire someone when

  • You and they both understand how we determine good performance in this job,
  • You and they both understand the gap between their current performance and that desired, good performance,
  • You coach, train, direct, and redirect them to close that gap,
  • They continue to fall short of the desired performance (see note below), and
  • You see (from their progress to date) that the further time it will likely take for them to close that gap is rather more expensive than firing and replacing them.

Yucky as it is, we must, at times, fire people or risk the ongoing harm to the work, the team, and the organization.


In your corner,


PS: Set a reasonable period of time, say, 3 months, for the person to demonstrate they have closed the gap.  This reasonable duration varies from organization to organization, jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and role to role.

PPS: When it is time to fire someone, do it with both an open heart and trusted legal guidance.

Today’s photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc

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