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To Fire or not to Fire – 5 considerations to ease the decision

March 10, 2015

Jim Collins in ‘Good to Great’ talks about getting the right people on the bus, in the right seats and getting the wrong people off the bus. Whilst recruitment and talent management is energising for most managers, firing team members is really tough. Consequently many leaders procrastinate and therefore lead underperforming teams.

do I need to fire a staff member
If you’re wrestling with whether or not to retain an underperforming member of staff here are 5 questions to ask yourself:

1) What’s the cost of keeping this person? Does it outweigh the cost of letting them go? Recognise the cost. What percentage of your organisations outgoings are people costs? Costs aren’t just financial. Is this person impacting productivity, causing other good people to quit or creating unnecessary office politics?

2) How will their colleagues feel? If possible ascertain what others in the team feel, is this person holding them back?

3) If he/she handed you their letter of resignation today, would you feel relieved? If the answer to this question is yes, you are probably procrastinating and delaying the inevitable.

4) Does good past performance justify weak future performance? Often we hold onto weak team members because they were once strong. This communicates a dangerous message to your staff, suggesting that underperformance is tolerated.

5) Is the person teachable and likely to raise their game? We all go through down patches and need second chances. It’s important to recognise that teachable people can rise again. Those resistant to feedback and learning rarely do.

As with any hiring or firing decision be sure to consult with an HR professional.

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