Dave Thomas

With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business and career topics, including doctor reviews.

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What Should I Do About That Troubled Employee?

Dave Thomas

February 19, 2013

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Whether you have run a small business for years or just recently ventured into such a role, there is a good chance you have or will be hiring employees at some point to help you ultimately achieve your business goals.

With that being the case, what options are at your disposal when it turns out you have made a bad hire? Specifically, what are the financial implications of pulling the plug on that individual, this after going through the process of hiring them in the first place?

While studies vary, it is not uncommon to hear that even an employee barely making minimum wage can end up costing a small business to the tune of approximately $3,500 in turnover expenses, both direct and indirect.

So, what are your options if you have an employee that appears not to be cutting it for you, a worker whose lack of efforts and/or skills could cost you money in the long run?

Among the things to look at:

* Talk it out - The first thing to do is have a one-on-one chat with the employee in question. Do not make it a public event where you have several of his or her coworkers in on the discussion. If you run the company, have the individual and their manager in the discussion, hash out what the worker is not doing correctly, what you like to date about their efforts or performance (accentuate the positive so they at least stay interested in the conversation), and see where improvement needs to be made;

* Other options - While you can always advertise the position and get someone else, you don’t want to go down the road of potentially having a revolving door at your company, especially if this is a key position you’re dealing with. Given the costs and time needed to retrain for a position, don’t automatically assume getting rid of the employee in question is the obvious answer. There is always the option too of moving the employee in question to another position they may be qualified for, thereby still giving them a shot to prove themselves with your company;

* Ramifications of dismissal - Even though many employees who are let go do not direct any animosity at their former employers, that is not the case with everyone. If you let the individual go, will they speak negatively about your business to others, including advertisers and potential employees? While you can’t let your business be held hostage to such possibilities, keep them in mind when considering dismissing someone;

* Review hiring procedures - Whether you keep the individual or not, did you miss something with them when you interviewed them the first time around? Anytime you make what you feel is a bad hire, you should take some time to review your hiring procedures. It doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong, but it certainly can’t hurt to make sure your hiring process is as good as it can be.

Hiring the right employees is something that should never be taken for granted, especially with the ramifications that can come with making even one bad decision.


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