Fire Fast

Fire fast. Yikes, am I even allowed to say that in a blog post?? Jokes aside, this is not a subject I take lightly and I genuinely believe firing someone when they’re not doing their job is good for both the company and the employee.

If an employee isn’t doing their job it’s because clear expectations haven’t been set, they don’t have the skills to fulfill those expectations, or they don’t want to fulfill those expectations. Your first step is to identify which bucket your situation falls in. If there is any uncertainty which bucket you think you’re in, revisit setting clear expectations.

If an employee doesn’t have the skills or interest in doing the job then your best course of action is firing them. They’re not happy and the longer you keep them on the team the longer it will take up your time, set a bad precedent for the rest of your employees, and delay getting the right person in the position. Inaction is a very costly decision.

4 reasons why you’re scared to fire someone and why those reasons are BS

  1. Increased workload: This may be a real concern, but I’d guess that the time and energy required to manage them is taking up more time than you taking on their workload in the short term, or figuring out a solution of how to manage their workload while you find a replacement.
  2. Hurting their feelings: It may hurt their feelings in the short term. But NOT doing this and not addressing the situation is more hurtful and disrespectful.
  3. Not knowing how to have the conversation: The firing conversation shouldn’t come as a surprise to the individual. At that point, they should be aware they they aren’t meeting expectations and the final decision may come as a relief to them. If you think this conversation will feel like it’s out of left field for them, then you may need to revisit your setting expectations and performance conversation plan.
  4. Not sure you’re allowed to have the conversation: Go to your manager and talk to them about the situation. Go to HR, share the situation and ask for their guidance. Be curious, get a second opinion, and create an action plan.

Yes, you may be forcing someone into something they’re not ready for, but you’re also giving them an opportunity to reevaluate their relationship with work and some great things can come from that type of reflection. Regardless, this was a responsibility you took on when you stepped into a management role. And like a parent (eek – I hate comparing work to families, but bear with me!) sometimes we need to do what is right for the individual not what feels good in the moment.