Terminations are one of the most difficult parts of being in management. As a result, most business owners and HR directors will do everything possible to try to avoid them. This includes trying to rationalize the employee’s behavior so as to delay, or cancel entirely, the termination decision. Here are some of the most common rationalizations that you, or your managers, may be tempted to use, as well as reasons why this thinking does not benefit your practice:
* “Firing this person will upset the other workers.” In actuality, the opposite is often true. When an employee is underperforming, his or her coworkers usually have to pick up the slack. Plus, if you do not take action against an underperforming employee, then the other workers usually feel as if their quality work levels are going underappreciated or unnoticed.
* “Better to have a lesser-quality worker in that spot than no worker at all.” Again, this rationalization underscores the impact that this worker can be having on the rest of the office. One “bad apple” can spoil your entire workforce by bringing down morale, and eventually leading to widespread performance issues or to good workers leaving for better jobs.
* “Maybe he or she will improve.” This one can be true, if you are someone who is inclined to terminate someone who is brand new and still learning. But if you are finding yourself rationalizing in order to avoid termination, you are likely not trigger-happy when it comes to terminations. That means that you’re likely to have already given this person plenty of chances and opportunities to improve, with no avail. If this is the case, then accept the fact that giving this person “time to improve” is really just delaying the inevitable.
Terminations are not pleasant, but sometimes they are necessary. Instead of rationalizing the employee’s behavior, take an objective look at his or her history, and accept the fact that sometimes a worker is simply not the right choice in your practice.