5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Letting Go Of A Poorly Performing Employee

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As an employer and/or manager, one of the hardest jobs you face is the reality of having to fire and lay off workers from time to time. As difficult as this may be, there are many times when letting an employee go is simply the best option for the business and that worker.

While that may sound counterintuitive there can be cases when letting go of a poor performing employee ultimately allows them to go on and have more success in an industry or businesses they are better suited to.

So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should not always feel bad about letting go of poor-performing employees.

Such is the case with poor performing employees. What follows are some reasons why you should not feel bad about letting poor performing employees go.

It’s Better for Them in the Long Term

Letting a poor performing employee go can direct them into a job which is a better fit for them. This is often the case where the employee is hard working and skilled but there is a mis-match with your company’s culture or the specific requirements of the role.

That is to say the employee could be great, just not in your company or the role that you have them in. Often in this case the employee realises that the role isn’t a match either and having this discussion can help them realise that their career is going to be advanced more quickly at another organisation.

They Are Likely Unhappy in the Role

If someone is performing poorly in a job, it is likely because they do not enjoy the position they are in and would be happier working somewhere else. Sometimes, employees in this predicament are not fully capable of making this decision on their own, so letting them go can be a way to give them a push in the direction they know they want to go.

This could be related to the role itself, how it was “sold” to them during the interview process or another issue related to their co-workers, company culture, etc. In this situation if it is possible it can be better to work on helping the employee transition to another role if possible or at least allowing them the time to interview elsewhere, rather than just letting them go immediately.

Planning for Them to Leave is Better

An employee who knows they are performing poorly probably has a fear of being abruptly fired one day. Its the elephant in the room that both you and they know.

Obviously, situations, where someone is let go immediately, can be incredibly traumatic and disruptive. Instead, a better approach can be to talk to the employee about their poor performance, the improvements they need to make and what the role requires. From this, they may decide that they are better off in a different role/company.

If there is a level of transparency around this then ultimately you can plan for their leave, ensuring adequate severance is provided. While this may be a cost to the business, the cost of not acting and having an ineffective employee in the role for another 6 or 12 months can be greater.

They Represent a Real Cost to the Business

Simply put, poor-performing employees do not produce the same quality of work as would an employee who enjoys their job and does it well. Therefore, poor-performing employees are actually costing your business money both in terms of time and lost opportunity.

As a Manager or CEO of a business, you have a responsibility to the business and all its employees. Therefore keeping someone on who could drag down the business is actually doing a disservice to everyone else in the business. Depending on their seniority and role in the company keeping on a poorly performing staff member can even jeopardise the business as a whole.

They Can Impact Team Morale

Having a robust team of employees who love what they do and do it well is a huge benefit to your business. A poor performing employee brings down morale for the team, making them feel like they have to compensate for the one who does not enjoy their job, and adding a general feeling of negativity to the team.

Team morale has a larger impact on the overall success on the business than you could imagine. A “bad egg” can pull down the performance of an entire team. Not only do good employees feel like they have to overcompensate but the poorly performing employee can often bring negative emotions into the workplace.


About Author

Paul Towers - Founder @ Task Pigeon

Paul Towers is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon. Join me on my journey to build an open & transparent startup from day one. Paul is also the founder of Startup Soda, a newsletter curating the best content from the Australian startup ecosystem.