Staffing Solution 101: How to Fire a Problem Employee

February 24, 2016

staffing solutions, man about to get firedStaffing agencies in Utah know that running an efficient department or business includes both hiring and firing. And unfortunately, firing an employee is one staffing solution that most employers try to avoid. Some managers put off terminating poorly performing employees because they are conflict-averse. Others aren’t confident it’s the right decision or can’t separate their concern for the person from their performance.

But beware: Keeping a problem employee can lead to bigger problems, ones that will spread throughout the entire company. Bad employees who constantly complain and express negative opinions about their jobs and management can decrease morale throughout the entire department or even the whole company. This negatively affects productivity, customer satisfaction, and company revenue. If you keep bad employees on board, it can also compromise your leadership. Employees will lose faith in your leadership if you can’t distinguish non-productive members from productive members of the team.


4 tell-tale signs that it’s time to part ways:

  1. Lack of progress or follow-through on projects
  2. Disregard for organizational processes or procedures
  3. Lack of trust
  4. Poor attitude that is spreading throughout the team


The decision to part ways with an employee must be well thought-out and accomplished in phases.


An Effective Staffing Solution is Knowing When and How to Say Goodbye

Step 1. The first step in the termination process is to outline the steps the employee needs to take to improve his or her performance. This should include expectations, goals, and a 30-day deadline for the expectations to be met. Provide specific examples, if possible. The outline should be shared with upper management and human resources.

Step 2. The second step is to have a meeting with the employee. Some organizations prefer to have a representative of upper management or human resources present at the meeting. Review the outline together and be prepared to answer any questions. During this meeting, encourage the employee to evaluate his or her performance. Establish a deadline. For example: he or she will be given 30 days to show improvement on the issues mentioned in the outline. If there are any clarifications or modifications to the outline during the meeting, make sure they are recorded, added to the outline, and given to the other management representatives in the meeting.

Step 3. During the 30-day probationary period, check in with the team member at least weekly. You might want to start thinking about a hiring strategy for his or her replacement in case no improvement is seen. This will reduce the amount of time that other team members pick up the slack once their colleague is gone.
Step 4. If after 30 days there is no measurable improvement, it is time to have one last honest conversation with the employee on the reasons for terminating their employment.

In the end, creating a plan for improvement will help both manager and employee. It allows the team member to prove himself or herself and helps offer the coaching or redirection that might be needed. If the employee improves, you’ve spared yourself the anxiety of letting someone go. If he or she doesn’t improve, the employee will have a clear understanding of the reasons for termination. While termination is never pleasant, sometimes you have to know the steps for saying goodbye.