5 Signs It’s Time to Fire an Employee

signs an employee should be fired

Business owners and managers have the responsibility of managing the business as well as its staff. Handling employees can be tough – it requires knowing when to be patient with them, knowing when and how to motivate them to perform at their best and also knowing when to let them go. By far the most unpleasant of all employee-related tasks is firing, but it’s necessary if the employee in question is affecting your business negatively. Popular reasons why an employee should be fired range from poor performance and misconduct to a negative attitude that you haven’t been able to fix, no matter how hard you tried. But additional, unresolvable reasons exist for firing an employee. Here are the top 5 signs an employee needs to be handed the pink slip.

  1. They lack integrity: This is the fastest way an employee can make you lose trust in him or her. Sometimes, they try to blur lines by not telling outright lies, but lies of omission and make attempts to overwhelm you with irrelevant details to keep you from noticing when their performance is below par or flat out unacceptable. An employee should be fired if they make a habit of lying. For employees, you might think that one little lie would not do much damage to your reputation in the workplace, but when it’s found out that you’ve lied  – even if it’s only once, it causes your boss to look at you differently and reduce the regard they have for you. Lies of omission, where you skip relevant details or parts that make you look bad are just as damaging. When the whole picture is revealed from another source, – especially when it contains relevant information – it blindsides your boss and causes just as much damage, if not more. When you lose the trust you had for an employee, it means it’s time to look critically at them and strongly consider terminating their employment. It shouldn’t be your job to constantly check on them and try to be sure that they’re being honest with you. You’re an entrepreneur, not a private investigator.
  2. Their performance is not up to par: While there are several reasons that could excuse poor performance once in a while, if you have that one employee, or group of employees who always fails to meet deadlines, always turns in work that needs to be revised over and over again and generally performs poorly, then it’s time to send them packing. Employee training is one way to try and eliminate firing workers because of this reason. The training period should weed out low performers and show you people who just can’t meet up. No matter how much you appreciate the efforts put into tasks, if a certain worker consistently fails to meet up to expectations, that employee should be fired. If you’re feeling gracious, you could offer such employees a grace period or put them on probation. If they still fail to improve then you can give them time to find another job, while you also find a replacement.
  3. Unable to adapt to changes: Firing an employee for this would be a difficult decision, especially if they work hard and perform well in their original place of assignment. However, if things at the company are moving too fast and they can’t meet up, it’s time to find someone who adapts better. Change is inevitable, especially if you’re transitioning from startup to growth company. You need versatile employees who can perform just as well when there are changes in the nature of the tasks they have to handle. If he/she can’t keep up, that employee should be fired.
  4. Behaves unethically: Unethical behavior is not something you can overlook a an employee. Having a good relationship with customers and coworkers and treating fellow staff with respect are a must for any employee and behaviors such as harassment or bullying of fellow workers, lack of regard for authority, profligate spending on the company’s bill or giving and receiving bribes are totally unacceptable. Sometimes a stern telling-off would make the difference and keeping them away from your clients would be a safer option for you. If such behavior is shown again, then that employee should be fired on the spot. It’s important that you show very little tolerance for inappropriate behavior.
  5. Your customers complain: Everyone of us knows that a single bad experience with a company’s customer service is enough to end all our business operations with them. This is even worse when you consider the fact that one pissed off customer will spread his bad experience with several people wherever he/she goes and your brand comes up in a discussion. Your employees are usually the point of contact with your clients and if you want repeat business from them, it’s important to keep them happy. If your customers complain about a particular employee and the bad service they got from him/her, such an employee should be fired.


  1. This article needs to be in every mail box, on every front page newspaper and every social media outlet available. In these past 5 or so years I have worked around some of the most unprofessional people. I’m all for giving people chances, taking steps toward helping an employee improve, write ups, counseling statements etc… anything other than immediate termination but what gets me is the lack of passion for true genuine customer service and respect for those who are in positions of authority. Even my husband goes through it at work. I have seen, heard and worked with some of the most rudest people who keep a job. Then ones who loose their jobs go to unions and get their jobs back. I’m talking anywhere from receiving several customer complaints to down right coming to work high and falling all over the place and still keep a job. I don’t know if the fear of a lawsuit or what it is but with the employment rate as high as it is and people who were incarcerated wanting to get back into society and work, why do these people still have jobs? there thousands of people who would love to have my job, your job, anybody’s job to be able to provide for their families and would probably work for a lot less money than you. Hello!

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