Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Tough Conversations: Tips for when Talent Isn’t Working Out

Published on Apr 12, 2013


Read 'Tough Conversations: Tips for when Talent Isn’t Working Out' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
image-5.jpgPart of developing a successful work environment is ensuring that all employees are a fit for the organization – both in terms of skill and culture. Incorporating a business comes with a lot of work and responsibility, so an employee who doesn’t carry his or her weight in the workplace can negatively impact the morale of other employees, and ultimately stunt the company’s productivity and growth. The prospect of firing an employee comes with negative consequences in terms of legal exposure and workplace morale, but sometimes these tough conversations are necessary when talent just isn’t working out.  So what are some subtle ways to deal with this problem, and effectively handle the situation? Here a few ideas to consider when dealing with a troubling employee situation:
  • Although this may not work for every employee, if accurate, a negative job review might encourage the employee to evaluate other options. An employee should want to feel that they are doing well and contributing to the organization, so a negative review might frustrate them, lower their morale and serve as the push they need to look elsewhere. Or on the other hand, it could motivate them to improve.
  • Depending on how long an employee has been with the organization, offering early retirement could be an option. Retirement is a graceful exit that may appeal to some employees on an emotional level. Paired with an appealing severance package, this might just do the trick without any negative repercussions.
  • Reduce the employee’s hours. Hourly employees count on the number of hours they work to pay the bills. If you reduce their hours, they may find that they have no choice but to look for work elsewhere.
  • Limit fringe benefits. Perhaps in the past, the employee was given a flexible work schedule, where they could work from home, or come in late. Eliminating that perk may make it impossible for the employee to continue to work for you. This is most effective when the policy change is applied across the board, but no one else is impacted by it.
If none of these work… In most states, employees are considered “at will,” meaning employment will continue as long as the company and the worker both agree to it. Each can sever the relationship without reason or notice. In some cases, officially terminating the relationship with the employee may be the only option. However, if at least some of the measures above are implemented, it will not be a shock for the employee and there is less likely to be any collateral damage with the other employees. Although it might seem petty – the people you bring into the organization have a tremendous impact on the success of your business. If one person isn’t able to add value to the business’s bottom line, keeping him or her on board is just not worth the risk of losing valued employees who can truly contribute to the success of your new company.