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Moving on: 4 reasons to terminate an employee before damage is done

Sept. 16, 2022
Terminating an employee is never easy, but once it's clear they're a bad fit, you need to act before they do serious damage.

Firing someone is never easy. There are many reasons to move on from an employee, some of which have nothing to do with the employee’s actual job performance. Your office may need to downsize because of over-hiring or economic decline. The employee’s role may not be one that is necessary in your office any longer. This person may have maximized their growth potential and no longer feel satisfied with their defined role.

However, there are also many reasons to remove an employee because something about their presence is causing a negative impact on your workplace. Here are four reasons it may be time to move on.

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Bad culture fit

Each office has its own culture. An office with four or five employees will probably have a very different culture than an office with 20+ employees. In all likelihood, the more employees an office has, the higher the chance of a bad apple in the bunch. An employee who brings drama to work will not and should not be tolerated. A workplace cannot survive this type of employee, because they bring down the spirit and motivation of those around them. While you probably cannot find a full staff who’ll enjoy all the same things and who are fully compatible by personality, you must weed out those who are an obvious bad fit to save your workplace morale. Move on!

Poor quality of work

It is certainly possible for an employee to work hard but still be a bad employee. Unfortunately, some people just don’t make up for poor quality work by maintaining a strong work ethic. It can be difficult to move on from this type of employee because you know they are trying their best. I think of this type of employee like a professional sports team would look at one of their athletes. A team may have a player who works hard, is the first to the field, and the last to leave. However, if they can’t perform on the job, their performance otherwise cannot save their spot on the roster. Once you know the quality of their work will not improve. Move on!

Shirking responsibility

This type of employee has an endless list of excuses for why it wasn’t them who did something wrong. I believe an employee is only willing to improve if they are also willing to accept that they did something the wrong way. How can someone do something differently next time if they refuse to admit they did it wrong this time? This type of employee tends to rarely—if ever—accept that anything they do is ever wrong. What’s worse is that many times this type of employee will blame it on a different employee who has nothing to do with the negative situation. Move on!

Ignoring established  processes

It can be very frustrating to have someone openly defy your tried-and-true way of doing something. We have all likely hired an employee who thinks they can change the way you operate aspects of your practice after their first week of work when you have spent the last 10–20 years perfecting processes. This type of employee may indeed think they are showing initiative in trying to improve something that needs no improvement. Proceed to warn them, and discuss ideas for change in the future and the importance of following current methods. If they proceed to do their own thing, realize they are unlikely to change. Move on!

There are consequences of waiting too long to let someone go. Once you know the time has come to move on, the sooner you do so, the better. There will often be reasons to feel bad for letting someone go. There’s a holiday coming up, they have a family, finding a new job can be difficult, they’re a nice person, etc. At the end of the day, running a business requires hard decisions which need to be in the best interest of the business. Most of the time, the employee is not at all surprised that they have reached the end of their journey with your practice.