By Brian McKay
Nice guys can do very well in business. But all of them will face a major hurdle at some point in time. One day in the future, pretty soon after you start hiring people, you will inevitably have to fire someone. It’s going to be tough. You might be afraid to do it. But failure to do your job could cost your business more than you realise.
There is, however, a few things you can do to ensure you keep your nice guy image and fire someone with compassion, grace, and respect. Let’s take a look at everything a good man needs to know before they give someone the boot.
Understand it’s OK
The first step in being able to fire someone is to accept that it is OK, and just a part of life. Yes, it will be awkward. Sure, it will be uncomfortable. But the simple truth is that if you want to protect your business interests it has to be done. If someone isn’t performing, it will affect your company. And while that person may face tough times ahead, if they bring your business down, the whole team goes with it, and everyone is out of the job. You owe it to your team to do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.
The difficult one
Firing can be even harder if the person has done nothing wrong. There could be something going on in their lives outside of work, or they might just not be up to scratch. Perhaps they have a long-term illness, which you cannot afford to support and are forced to let them go - this post contains all the info you need if this is the case. However, it’s vital to understand that as your business grows, not everyone will grow with it. A good way of dealing with this is to remove the surprise factor. It will give the employee a chance to come to terms with the event before it happens - and start seeking other employment.
Of course, there are strict rules in place for discipline issues, which you must follow, by law. Failure to do so could lead to an unfair dismissal claim - or worse. So, make sure you are letting the person know that they are underperforming, and meet with them regularly to find out how they are progressing. Document everything, set goals, and hold reviews. It’s fair, clear to everyone and the principled way to manage an unruly or underperforming staff member. And by the time it comes to firing them, they will have had more than enough notice of your intentions - so much so that it will seem like a natural progression.
The inner monologue
Before you fire anyone, it’s always a good idea to evaluate your reasons for doing so. Ask yourself if it is the right thing to do, and if there was anything you could have done better. If there is, maybe you can’t go into this situation with a clear conscience - and should delay your decision. But if you go into that meeting knowing you have done everything in your power to help the employee, including offering them a different position, then you should have no guilt about letting them go.
What are your thoughts on the firing process? Let us know and join in with the conversation...