Breaking Up is Hard to Do – Releasing An Employee

Who are you helping by retaining the employee that is struggling to perform? Are you impacting the other employees that are pulling more weight due to a peer that is not performing?  Is the business meeting the expectations of your customers who may be receiving less than optimal service? Are you hampering your career path putting your leadership in question because you are not addressing the poor performance? Have you considered how the declining performance of the employee that is struggling is effecting their self-confidence? The answer is, you are likely doing a disservice to everyone by not addressing the performance issue.

Termination Conversation

You should have had honest performance conversations with your employee and document the consultations regarding issues that needed to be addressed. The dialogue should have included suggestions on how to improve or change the situation. If the employee continues to perform at an unacceptable level, letting them go could be the best option.

It is essential to carefully plan how you will approach the termination conversation. As the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests, “notifying an employee that his or her employment has been terminated is a delicate task, and employers should think things through carefully before delivering the news”.

Termination Support

Consider providing the employee with outplacement services. Outplacement will assist the employee after a termination by helping them to manage the emotions following the loss of a job. It will provide the departing employee with practical and unbiased support as they navigate the process of seeking a new job.  With outplacement support the employee may more quickly secure a position that is a great match for their skills.

Employee termination is undoubtedly one of the most disliked responsibilities of a manager. But the termination of an employee, that has received adequate coaching and a chance for improvement, if handled compassionately, may generate relief for the organization, and for the employee as well.