While it often seems like the only option, terminating an employee isn’t always the only course of action. Being proactive is key! Here are some alternatives to firing an employee.
Whether it’s shortly following a new hire or after an employee has been with the company for years, most managers have felt the need to remove a team member for one reason or another. Terminating an employee can be a painful experience for both parties, especially if a relationship has formed between said employee and their team members, managers, and other leadership within the company.
Often times, the need to terminate an employee is triggered by a mismatch between the employee’s competencies and the requirements of the employee’s particular job. It can also be a miscommunication of job requirements, a misunderstanding of expectations by one or both parties, or other work factors that are affecting performance.
While it often seems like the only option (and for certain cases, it might be), terminating an employee isn’t always the only recourse. Something as simple as moving the employee to another position, altering their current position, or providing continued learning to build their skill set could resolve the issue.
Communicate and Invite Feedback
It may sound simple, but sitting down with your employee to discuss an issue of poor performance could be enough to change their course. It’s very possible that there could be an unknown hindrance that is preventing your employee from being productive or from completing tasks as you are expecting.
Often, from a manager’s perspective, some things that your subordinates encounter may seem cut and dried, but that isn’t always the case. After a candid discussion with the team member about your expectations, certain obstacles or agitators that they’re experiencing can become clear, allowing you to make informed decisions and possibly, change your approach or set new objectives.
Explore Reassigning an Employee to Another Position
If having a straightforward discussion with your employee proves fruitless, another option could be to move that employee to a different part of the team or organization. While the employee was originally hired for the position in question, your employee’s strengths and skills might simply be better suited to a different job. Rather than terminating the employee, it could be better to reassign them to a job that’s a better fit for their skills and personality.
By reassigning an employee to a job that better fits the employee’s skills, it shows that your organization invests in their people, putting your company in a positive light both internally and externally. By moving an employee to another position instead of firing them, the company can enjoy:
- Improved morale and commitment
- A positive company culture
- Retention of institutional knowledge and experience
- Improved job performance
If you have a competency management system in place, a job reassignment can be quick and easy, with your decision guided and supported by data rather than guesswork. Using competency management software, you can analyze and inventory each employee’s skills, understand their productivity habits, as well as where their personality traits would work best, and match them with a position that is best suited to their competencies.
Use a Competency Management System to Build Skill Sets
When moving an employee to a different position isn’t an option, or if their new position requires skills that they don’t currently have, consider helping your employee build their skill sets in order to mold them into a better fit for the position. One great way to keep all information pertaining to employee skill sets and abilities organized is by implementing a competency management system.
Having an effective competency management system in place can help you:
- Define the skills needed to perform each job successfully
- Weight those skills by their levels of importance
- Assess the skills possessed by employees and hiring prospects
- Match the skills of employees to the skills required by specific jobs
A competency management system should be implemented according to your organization’s needs. While no two competency management systems are created equal there are certain components that are required for a competency management plan to be successful.
An effective competency management system includes:
Ongoing performance management: Unlike performance appraisals which only score an employee’s past performance, ongoing performance management provides corrective advice and actionable ways to stay on track toward specific goals. Learn more about performance management best practices on our blog.
Skills Gaps Analysis: Using competency management software to track skills of current employees, you can understand where certain employees need to improve.
Continued Learning Initiatives: When skills gaps are detected, leadership can recommend continued learning to build employee skill sets.
Leadership Development and Succession Planning: When employees feel like they have a purpose and vision for their career, they will have a higher productivity rate and they are more likely to stay with your company long-term. Leadership development and succession planning can help employees feel valued, allowing your organization to retain top-talent.
While firing an employee may seem like the most obvious way to solve a performance problem, it’s not always the most prudent course of action. In fact, firing an employee can sometimes do more harm than good. With a competency management system in place, finding alternatives to firing an employee and encouraging a positive company culture may be possible.