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Letting an employee go is almost never easy. In fact, just knowing when it’s time to let an employee go can be difficult, especially if it’s someone who’s been with the company for a long time. Obviously, if someone’s performance isn’t up to par, changes need to be made. However, where do you draw the line and part ways with an employee? Let’s take a look at some of the signs that it’s time to let an employee go.

The Employee Is No Longer Engaged

Engaged employees love their jobs and are committed to the company’s success. They work harder and are more productive, and what’s more, their sense of engagement tends to infect their co-workers too. Everyone feels buoyed in the presence of a co-worker who’s enthusiastic about his or her job.

On the other hand, if your employee is no longer engaged in his or her job and is just going through the motions, it shows. Apathetic employees don’t work as hard and don’t get as much done. Even worse, their feelings of dispassion tend to spread to their co-workers, leaving everyone disinterested and maybe just a little bit sulky.

Of course, a disengaged, indifferent employee may just be struggling with personal issues. Don’t leap straight to the conclusion that a disengaged employee should be fired. Have a talk with your employee to get to the root of his or her detachment, especially if he or she has been a good performer in the past. There may be something you can do to help your employee leave his or her personal problems at home. In any case, letting the employee know that his or her job performance is suffering may be enough to help him or her shake off the feelings of apathy during business hours.

The Employee Exhibits Performance Problems

If an employee is having issues with performance or bad behavior, nine times out of 10, speaking to them about it is enough to motivate them to resolve the problems on their own. If an employee puts in effort to resolve behavior and performance problems, or some kind of compromise can be worked out, that’s one thing. If an employee is behaving and performing poorly, and they fail to resolve the problems when asked, it’s time to let them go. Poor performance and bad behavior are drains on company resources, and an employee who openly breaks rules will only cause resentment and bad feeling among other employees who do as they’re asked.

The Employee Foments Dissent

Employees who spread rumors, bad-mouth supervisors behind their backs, tear down others’ achievements or undermine the company in any way can’t be tolerated. Such an employee doesn’t have the company’s best interests at heart. They will harm the company by sabotaging work, spreading false information or pitting co-workers against each other. It’s best to let this sort of employee go before too much damage is done.

The Employee Is Damaging Overall Productivity

Sure, it’s easy to say that when an individual employee’s productivity is down, you’re going to take steps. But you must also consider how an employee’s performance and behavior is affecting your own productivity and that of everyone else in the company. Staff members who have to take on the work of another employee suffer in their ability to do their own duties, and managers who must constantly take time  to deal with the issues of one employee also lose time they could be spending on other issues in the company. Does the employee seem to need too much help or take too long to do work? Is he or she responsible for frequent project delays? Does he or she make mistakes that need to be fixed? If so, it may be time to let that employee go.

Customers Are Complaining

In business, the customer is the real boss. When your customers are lodging complaints that can be traced back to one employee’s poor performance or questionable behavior, it’s time to give some real thought to finding someone else to fill that position. You should do the same if an employee is making your relationships with vendors strained — your company relies on vendors as much as it relies on customers for success.

When letting an employee go, remember that there are numerous laws in place preventing employment discrimination. Don’t give a disgruntled employee any reason to file a discrimination complaint. If you’re at all concerned about whether your decision to let an employee go could be construed as discrimination, you need our help. We understand employment laws and can make sure you remain in compliance from the moment you recruit an employee to the moment you let that employee go, if indeed such an event transpires. If, like many employers, you’re reluctant to let employees go no matter what the reason, our professionals know how to let an employee go with tact and skill.

It’s not always easy to let an employee go, but your company needs to be a priority. Make sure your employees care about your company’s values and best interests, and part ways with any employees who don’t.

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