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Termination and Employee Performance

Man holding box filled with desk contentsOne of your company managers is struggling with an under-performing worker, and so far, the manager has made all the right moves. The under-performance was addressed in the employee’s latest evaluation, coaching goals were set, and the manager has been following up on a regular basis. Every conversation has been documented, and HR has been kept in the loop at each step. But the manager’s efforts are not paying off. At this point, three warnings have been given, and it now looks like the employee will need to be dismissed.

Employee Performance Problems: Final Considerations before Termination

Before you take the final steps and make the termination official, be sure to address each of these last important considerations:

  1. Have you examined every documented conversation and every assigned success metric for signs of bias? To avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit, you’ll need to make sure your employment contract allows termination on your stated grounds. And no legal agreement allows a dismissal that reflects racial, gender, religious, or ethnic discrimination.
  2. Are your success metrics an accurate reflection of the requirements of this job? If the employee completes the necessary aspects of the job adequately, but lacks social skills or other unrelated credentials, stop and think before you put the company through a drawn-out re-staffing process.
  3. How clear was your final warning? Did you present the warning in writing and ask the employee to sign it?
  4. Have you been using proper processes and systems to draft and monitor performance improvement plans, goals, and development milestones? Turnover is expensive. Don’t invest in months of training and hiring only to lose a qualified employee for the wrong reasons.
  5. Have you considered relocating the employee to another position? Performance issues in a certain role do not necessarily reflect overall inadequacy. If an employee has certain skill sets or strengths in other areas, consider a lateral movement in the company. If an employee’s skills could be better used elsewhere, the employee might engage better and finally meet expectations.
  6. Have you been keeping track of outside events that may be influencing the employee’s performance? If these obstacles are surmountable, try to salvage the situation through other means. For example, consider placing the employee on temporary leave or requiring him to attend a drug abuse, grief counseling, or job retraining program. A move like this might protect the employee and bolster the company’s reputation.
  7. Finally, are you 100% certain that adequate coaching and feedback was provided at every stage? Hiring and training and employee too expensive and important to give up in the last leg of the race. Employee performance issues, especially in roles that are highly task-oriented, can often times be diagnosed faster and helped if there are mechanisms in place that enable constant communication and feedback between the employee and manager.

If you are looking for a better way to document employee performance, automate development plans and goal setting, and enable real-time coaching and feedback, take a look at emPerform. emPerform’s online performance management software gives managers to tools needed to identify and monitor performance issues and provides the documentation and metrics needed to support termination decisions. Try for free at www.employee-performance.com

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