Don’t Avoid Firing an Employee

Warning – This article may suggest an action that could be personally uncomfortable but surprising profitable shortly after execution!

As a business owner, dealing with employee issues can be difficult, but not dealing with them can be worse.

Don’t avoid the “bad apple”!

The specific problem I would like to discuss is a hiring mistake. As a result, you may have a current employee who is considered to be a “bad apple”.

Situation 1 – You have a bad apple but you don’t know it.

This is surprisingly common. This kind of bad apple does their work of “spoiling the bunch” behind your back. In order to find them will require a little detective work. One place to inquire may be the most recent former employee. Current employees are reluctant to speak, but a former employee may talk. Officially it is called an “exit interview”, but it doesn’t have to be that formal. However you do your detective work, it’s probably better to have an independent person help you.

Situation 2 – You have a bad apple, you know it but you avoid dealing with it.

Surprisingly, this is not the most common personnel problem. This problem may occur because you think you can’t run your business without the skills of the bad apple. It is also easier to just avoid the problem. You just adjust to it and try and work around it. When you adjust a little bit each day, you tend not to realize how big the change is.

The reality is that one bad employee may “spoil” other employees, or possibly already has. It is not fair for the rest of the staff to keep them around.

Here are a couple of tips to dealing with bad employees that must go:

1)      Consult with employment law professionals before you act.

The only time to get advice on termination is before you do it.

There is often a cost of making the termination. It is important to compare this to the cost of keeping the employee and spoiling the rest, making everyone miserable and causing unnecessary stress. It may be hard to quantify, but a fun and stress-free workplace is very valuable.

2)      Act quickly once you make up your mind. It is best to terminate someone first thing in the morning. If not, you think about it all day long and it stresses you. Just do it and spend the remainder of the day enjoying the rest of the employees – who may be thanking you for dealing with the problem.

After you have dealt with the bad apple, you might as well take a little time looking at your hiring practices. This review will help you develop techniques for not hiring bad apples in the future! There is one simple rule that seems to work well:

“Hire for attitude – Train for skill!”

Let me know how it goes.

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Author: Paul Foster
Paul's life’s purpose is to bring more cash, freedom and happiness to independent business owners. Paul wants to learn about your toughest business challenges and frustrations so he can help you tackle them.