You did everything right during the search: You scrutinized the candidate’s resume, asked detailed questions during the interview stage and implemented an advanced background check afterwards. The candidate seemed like a dream and you were keen to get her to sign on the dotted line as soon as possible. However, months, or maybe even a year or so later, you begin to realize that the dream candidate you recruited isn’t so ideal after all. But the question is, how do you know when it’s the right time to let go?
It’s something that every human resources department, across the nation, will have to deal with at some point or another – employee terminations. Few human resources professionals will enjoy this difficult aspect of the job, but it’s by far one of the most necessary, given that an unproductive or problematic employee can negatively impact your organization’s bottom line, morale and reputation. As discussed, the problem that most human resources professionals have, however, is recognizing when the time has finally come to stop offering chances for improvement and letting the individual go.
There are a number of significant signs, however, that signal when it’s time to say goodbye. If you or your human resources team struggle with this sensitive issue, review the list below:
1. Negative customer feedback
There is a decent chance that employees within your company will interact with your clients or customers. If you begin to hear complaints from clients regarding an employee’s behavior, productivity or attitude, that’s usually a significant sign that it’s time to let the person go, the Muse explained. After all, at the end of the day, your company needs customers to succeed, and if an employee is offering poor service, it reflects negatively on the company. If you fail to notice an improvement after an initial warning, then it’s a wise move terminate the problematic person.
2. Consistent tardiness
Given that an increasing number of businesses are implementing more flexible schedules and remote working options, this is perhaps a harder metric to gauge. Still, if your company has a clear policy in terms of start and end times, employees who care about their jobs and succeeding will rarely be late. Problematic employees, on the other hand, will usually arrive at whatever time they deem fit. Indeed, if an employee is consistently late, it signals a lack of care about the role, which is an enormous red flag. Lateness not only curtails productivity but it is also a significant sign of apathy and disrespect – a mindset that should never be tolerated by you and your team.
3. Team morale is low
As the Muse pointed out, a problematic employee will often bring the whole team down, due to a lack of focus, engagement and/or other issues. If you notice that an increasing number of team members are unhappy and registering complaints about the same worker, that’s usually a clear sign that the individual in question needs to be removed from the equation. Of course, employee disputes should always be thoroughly investigated beforehand and handled with care. However, if all other options have been exhausted and you notice the same behavior from the bothersome employee, then it’s definitely time to let go.
4. Struggle with change
This one is difficult, as it doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with attitude or motivation, but it should still be regarded as highly problematic nonetheless: If an employee can’t keep up with change, in terms of project expectations, use of technology and so on, then he or she is likely having a negative impact on your operation, Business Insider argued. Put another way, employees who can’t keep up are a drain on time and resources and are ultimately detrimental to success. If you notice an employee who just can’t learn fast enough, then it’s time to schedule that termination meeting.
“An inability to adapt to change is a significant problem.”
5. Refusal to take directions
Of course, an employee who is able to think outside of the box and propose strategies for improvement should always be welcomed. However, if a worker is assertive and non-compliant to the point that it disrupts workflow and morale, then it’s a big problem, Business Insider argued. All employees should be able to take instructions from managers and comply with those directives. If some employees are unable to do this, it’s time to say goodbye.
6. Poor productivity
One of the most common reasons why employees are let go is an inability to complete requested work and meet expectation. Of course, strategies to bolster an employee’s productivity should be exhausted beforehand. If you fail to see an improvement, however, then termination is the most effective recourse, Tech Republic detailed. This is because, at the end of the day, poor productivity curtails success and eats away at the bottom line.
7. Argumentative and confrontational
Most organizations rely on team work to run smoothly. Consequently, all of your employees should be able to get along with their co-workers, at least to some extent. Of course, disagreements will arise, and surely not everyone will like everyone else. However, if you notice an employee who blatantly eschews professionalism – who refuses to compromise and is argumentative and confrontational most of the time, then that’s a clear sign that the individual is not a good fit for your team. Indeed, consistent conflict has a negative impact on team morale and overall productivity.
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