When to fire a star-employee who’s lost their spark

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An employee who was once at the top of their game keeps letting the entire team down – but how long can they live off their past accomplishments before HR says enough is enough? One industry expert says HR professionals should ask themselves three questions before making the big decision.

1.Is your employee meeting the responsibilities listed on their job description?

“This is the baseline, and yet many of us don’t refer back to a job description after we’ve completed the hiring process,” says Jodi Glickman, founder of communication training and leadership development firm Great on the Job.

“Unless there are extenuating circumstances, an employee who isn’t doing his job brings everyone down,” continues Glickman. “It’s not fair to you, it’s not fair to them and it certainly doesn’t do your clients or customers any good either.”

Glickman suggests revisiting employees’ job descriptions regularly to assess how aligned a worker is with their initial expectations and revise the description when appropriate.

“If the employee’s performance isn’t matching with the current or revised job description, it is time to terminate,” says Glickman.

2.Can the market offer you a better employee at the same price?

Replacing an employee is incredibly time consuming – and not to mention costly – so it’s important to consider how much succession planning has been done for a role, says Glickman.

Think – how much time, energy and resources would you need to invest to find someone with the skill, talent and dedication needed?

“There’s no question that the hiring process is daunting,” concedes Glickman, “but with few exceptions, everyone is replaceable – as much as we’d like to think otherwise.”

“In the end, markets are efficient and talented employees looking to progress forward in their careers are abundant,” she adds. “Managers need to keep this reality in mind, even though it can be hard to see in the moment.”

3.If the employee resigned today, would you fight to keep them?

“This is the final litmus test,” says Glickman. “By reframing the question this way, you will candidly address your internal debate: How would you feel if he left you? Devastated? Then maybe the relationship is salvageable. Relieved? Then it’s time to show your employee the door.”

Of course, Glickman stresses HR professionals should only ask themselves these ultimate three questions after they’ve done everything reasonable within their power to resolve the situation – from offering honest feedback and setting realistic goals to asking for the employee’s input and ensuring they aren’t under any personal pressure.

Read Glickman's full and original article here.
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  • Alice on 2015-05-28 1:19:48 PM

    Not sure I agree with the litmus test unless you are aiming for the average worker. Your top performer should be striving to do more than what is in a job description. After all, that is a static document but changes in the external work environment keeps coming at warp speed!

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