by Matt Thomas

Something is off. You know it and they know it. Performance expectations are not being met. Customers are frustrated. Other team members are cautiously expressing their concerns. Your gut tells you it’s not going to get better, but your ego believes if any manager can turn this around it’s you!

Terminating an employee is expensive. It usually ends up costing a business 50% of the former employee’s salary. Lost production, resources invested in training, and more. If they are client-facing, you risk losing credibility with the customer or negatively impacting their experience with your company. Even when it’s the right move, letting someone go usually has some negative impact on the culture. At a minimum, it’s deflating.

Unfortunately, I have had to terminate dozens of employees over the past 10 years. I’ve fumbled this process more than once. On some occasions reacting strongly in the present moment and terminating too quickly. On others, giving second, third, and fourth chances in hopes that they would turn things around. Letting someone go isn’t an exact science, but there are a few principles that can help us know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.