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3 Signs It Is Time To Let An Employee Go

Deciding when to let an employee go is a tough decision to make. Not only will you have to go through the hiring process again, but you will also have to deal with the emotional fallout that occurs when firing somebody. The recipient might be angry and upset, other workers might struggle with the news that their colleague has been fired, and you might suffer emotionally too.

However, you do have a business to run, and if your employee has behaved in ways that are against your company policies, then you do need to take action.

Here are just some of the signs that indicate it’s time to let an employee go.

#1: Signs of drug or alcohol abuse

Drug addiction and alcohol addiction are real issues, and if an employee has suffered from these problems in the past, there might be a reason to give them a chance if they have sought help to overcome these problems. However, relapses are common, and while you might be sympathetic to the employee’s cause, if they arrive at work high or intoxicated, they could be a danger to themselves and to your customers.

You should also be alerted if they are regularly absent because of their issues, or if they haven’t sought help to conquer their addictions.

So, if you suspect your employee has problems with drug or alcohol abuse, you are in your rights to carry out testing. A hair follicle drug test is but one example. Should your suspicions be proven correct, you might then decide to let them go, for the sake of your business. 

#2: Signs of lazy behaviour

In some cases, the employee might not be lazy at all. If they have been unproductive, it might be because you are overworking them, or that their morale is low (or a mix of the two).

As the employer, you need to get on top of this problem, perhaps by alleviating the employee’s workload and working on ways to raise employee happiness in your workplace.

On the other hand, the employee might simply be lazy. If they turn up to work late, leave early, take more breaks than they should, and noticeably slack off their work duties, then you need to speak to them. It might be that a warning will do the trick, but if their behaviour doesn’t change, and if they don’t have a good excuse, then you might have to let them go.

After all, work does need to be done if your business is to be a success!

#3: Customer complaints

If your business is customer-facing, your employees need to have the skills to provide good customer service. Training is a must, especially for those staff members with little experience in this area.

However, if after training, you receive complaints from your customers, perhaps because of the way they have been spoken to, or because they have seen your employee engage in less than appropriate behaviours, you need to take action. You might only lose customers if you don’t, including future customers who might hear of your employee when word of mouth gets around.

In the first instance, you should follow through on your disciplinary procedures. You might want to pay for refresher training too. However, it might be that you need to let the employee go, especially if customer complaints are constant. 

Choosing when to fire somebody is never going to be easy. However, for the sake of your business, you might decide that is the better option. Consult with your HR team or speak to another professional  for further advice if needed. 


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