5 Questions to Ask Before Firing an Underperformer

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 by admin

Most business owners find it difficult to terminate an employee who underperforms either for legal or emotional reasons. But every business owner must adopt the mindset of being responsible not only to the employees but for the business itself. With an underperformer hindering the business’ success, people depending on the business will also be affected.

Managing underperformance can be a challenging task. But if done properly, it can produce great results. But not all employees respond well to interventions nor strive to overcome occupational hazards or struggles. This is where a responsible business owner or manager needs to consider termination of employment as an option.

But before talking to the underperforming employee, ask these 5 essential questions first to make sure you’re making the right decision and not just acting under the influence of your emotions.

Did you set clear expectations and matched the employee to the skills required for the job?

During the hiring process, was the job requirement properly explained to the employee? A clearly defined job description will remove the problem of employees being uncertain of what their job entails. Specific job descriptions will clarify any management issues on your side and will resolve misunderstanding on the employee’s part.

Did you conduct performance reviews?

Employees are often unaware of their performance, so performance reviews are a great tool to help them realize whether they’re meeting the company’s expectations or not. If regularly done, it will make the employees become aware of their standing in the company. This should be an honest, unbiased dialogue in order to be effective. The performance review will set performance goals along with consequences once the goals are unmet.

Did you provide necessary training?

In most instances, underperformance can be a result of an ill-prepared employee. The employee may have been qualified at the start of the job, but when it evolved, the employee’s skill no longer suffice for the position. This is where training comes in, to keep employees adequate for the job. The lack of training will demotivate and frustrate the employee leading to performance problems.

Did you install a mentoring program?

Mentoring programs will expose underperforming employees to exemplary ones. These experienced employees will be a good source of inspiration and motivation, both character-wise and technically speaking.  Installing a solid mentoring program is a great help to improve employee performance.

Did you encourage a sense of ownership in the employee?

The tools previously mentioned above all help to create an atmosphere of “we’re all in this together” which will eventually create a sense of ownership in the employee. When they see their success in relation to the company’s success, they will be motivated enough to adopt a new mindset at work.

These questions will help you see underperformance in a different light. Your response to these questions will help you evaluate whether the termination is necessary. It will also help you evaluate your strength as a manager or business owner in leading the people under you to the path of success.

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