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Signs That it Might Be Time to Fire an Employee

Of all the responsibilities that come with owning a small-business, the least pleasant is undoubtedly firing an employee. It’s something that is never comfortable for anyone, regardless of how long they’ve been in the professional working world.

But as a small-business owner, it is something that does occasionally need to be done. Remember, when an employee isn’t living up to expectations, not only is it impacting your company’s bottom-line, but also the livelihood of both you and your other employees as well.

So how will you know when it’s time to remove an underperforming employee?

Here are three ways.

Are There Signs Your Employee’s Production Has Slipped?

Look, whether you’re the highest ranking executive at a company or the lowest serving employee on the corporate ladder, everyone has bad days in the office. Still, there’s a difference between having a bad day, and an employee whose production has slipped. As the boss it’s your job to figure out if the problem is the former or latter.

If you think it’s the latter, ask yourself some simple questions. Is he or she performing at the level they once did? Are they showing up to the office late, or leaving early? Are tasks taking them longer, or not being performed as adequately as they once were? Is the employee making excuses for late or incomplete assignments?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, it is probably time to remove that person from your organization.

Are Less Qualified Co-Workers Outperforming Them?

When contemplating the possibility of firing an employee, another consideration is whether they’re simply being outworked, by lower-paid or less-qualified colleagues. If so, why not reward the employee who is taking the initiative over the one who is taking the job for granted?

Not only can you cut costs with one less employee, but think about the other worker as well. If they’re showing initiative in the current work environment, it probably means they’re ready for additional responsibilities.

Is Your Employee Impacting the Production of His or Her Co-Workers?

As if it wasn’t bad enough that your employee’s personal production has dropped, ask yourself, is he or she also impacting the ability of others to get work done? Is this person distracting or taking away from others’ work time? Are they asking for help with tasks they should be able to handle themselves?

These are all signs that the employee is either unqualified for the job or starting to cut corners, and if so, then it’s time to let that employee go.

Dave Donovan


Dave Donovan has written extensively for the web with a primary focus on articles targeting finance and business.