Terminating Employees: Why It's Good for Everybody

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Agonizing over terminating employees? You don't have to: usually, it's the best thing to happen for both parties. For you, you'll remove distractions that would otherwise lower morale among your better employees. For the terminating employees, you'll help them find better-fit positions where they could thrive and be more effective. The sooner you do it, the better it works out for you, your employees, and the ones given pink slips.

What Would've Happened to Edison?

What would happen to David Letterman of Late Night, Bernie Marcus of Home Depot, Tom Stemberg of Staples, Larry King, Joe Torre, and Michael Bloomberg if they weren't sent packing at previous jobs? Don't think of terminating unqualified employees as a conundrum. The quicker you do it, the better it works out for all those involved to move on to situations where they can be most effective.

Case: Terminating Employees Helps Coach Carroll

Simply look at Pete Carroll's fall from the NFL game, and then his rise to college football prominence. The coach at the University of Southern California took over the NFL's New York Jets and the New England Patriots from revered coaching legend, Bill Parcells. Too bad Caroll's philosophy couldn't live up to Parcells's standards. The fans booed him for his lighthearted character toward his players. They said he wasn't tough enough, and couldn't control million-dollar egos. After a couple years, he lost his NFL gig. Yet, despite the setback, what happened next was Cinderella-esque. Most who knew Carroll knew he had a great football mind, but his personality suited ego-less, impressionable, college-type players. Undeterred by being the fourth choice to coach USC, Carroll and his players instantly bonded. That set a string of successes: two national championships, three Heisman Trophy winners, and several first-round draft picks. According to ESPN, USC became one of the greatest college football group, ever. If Carroll had stayed with the NFL, he wouldn't thrive as he did in the college game.

When Do You Know Someone's Not the Right Fit?

If you've built good systems in place that keeps people who fit with your core values, and ejects quickly those who don't, you'll always know. They will normally quit on their own. If they don't, ask these two questions to determine if terminating employees is the right choice (courtesy of Good to Great's Jim Collins): Sometimes seemingly unqualified people may just hold the wrong positions. Find out where they will have more potential, and give them that chance. If you still feel it's not the right fit, let them go immediately. It'll not only improve your company, but it'll help terminating employees quickly find a place where they can succeed.

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Posted on February 18

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