Fit in or… well, leave

I’m a great one for giving people a chance… no really I am.

But there has to come a time that all the chances are used up and it’s time to exit an employee for being hopeless… in terms of the job, of course.

The trouble is, it’s very difficult to know when the employee in question has reached last chance saloon and really needs to have a final word with themselves.

This fine balancing act was highlighted to me as I was talking to the bosses of two different companies who were faced with similar situations – under-performing employees – but were in very different positions when it came to actually doing the deed and getting rid of the person.

In the first instance the employee is relatively new; only a few months into the job. There are no issues with accuracy, it’s speed that’s the problem. The thing is, though, the employee really hasn’t been given the opportunity to develop fully into the role. Training has been light and sporadic and there’s been little else in the way of development.

Getting rid of this person might well be problematic in terms of the law but is probably a false economy, too. After all, there’ve been a few months of learning and with a little extra effort, speed will be increased whilst maintaining accuracy.

In other words, we’re not at last chance saloon yet.

The other employee has been about a little longer – about a year or so.

In that period the employee has received training, coaching, development and all manner of chances. But still performance is not where it should be.

The excuses are brilliant, though.

In terms of our last chance saloon analogy, we’re not only at last chance saloon, we’ve ordered the drinks, drunk them and are now about to be thrown out by the bouncers.

Of course, there has been a year’s worth of investment in this person too, so, surely the same argument is true – we should be giving them more time in the hope our investment comes good.

Not so.

In the second scenario the person has been given more than enough opportunities to improve but it’s now clear they aren’t going to. The first person, though, has yet to be given the training they deserve. In the first situation there’s a chance the business can achieve a positive return on investment, whereas this is not possible in the second.

Much like the gambler who puts on bet after bet convinced his luck is going to change to keep investing is the equivalent of flogging a dead horse (sorry for the mixed analogies) and is a sure way to lose out all round.

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