Contact Us: 317.644.2442

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Firing an Employee

September 5th, 2017   •   no comments   

by Emily D. Tisdale


As a leader in your organization, you work hard to make sure your recruitment and onboarding processes are stellar, but sometimes you must let an employee go.

This very difficult decision is one that we often find ourselves second-guessing; it can be hard to know if you’re making the right decision at the right time.

At the end of the day, HR policy will dictate if an employee must be terminated, however it never hurts to take a moment for internal reflection. While this can be a difficult situation, it will help to know that you’ve considered all the factors and you’re making the right decision for the future of your organization.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before moving forward.

“How Will This Impact My Team?”

Before terminating an employee, it’s important to stop and think about how your decision will affect your team. No matter the opinions your team holds about the employee in question, shakeups in staffing can cause anxiety. From worrying about an increased workload to changes in the team dynamic, your employees will feel an impact.

Instead of dwelling on the negative, start by listing the ways that saying goodbye to this employee will actually HELP your team and organization. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. When you’re finished, list all the ways that letting this employee go might HURT your team and organization. Sometimes your team’s short-term discomfort is worth the long-term gain.


“What Could We Do Better?”

When evaluating an employee’s future with your organization, stop to consider what you both could have done better. Termination is never something to take lightly, and you want to be absolutely certain that it’s the only way to resolve the issues at hand.

When evaluating the situation, ask yourself if you’ve thoroughly communicated expectations. If so, has your employee made a reasonable effort to succeed? You may discover some gaps in your own onboarding and training process, then decide that additional training could be beneficial in resolving any issues before taking the steps to terminate.


“Is This a Skill Issue or a Fit Issue?”

Determining whether the problem with your employee is a skill issue or a fit issue is the quickest way to achieve clarity about your decision. First ask yourself if you’ve set reasonable goals and expectations for your team member. If not, how could this be contributing to your current situation?

If your team member lacks the skills to perform their job duties in full, you may be able to turn things around with some additional training. However, a team member who is consistently underperforming, despite training and support, just may not be the right fit.

By determining the underlying issue for performance issues, you can move forward confidently with your decision.



Making the decision to fire a team member is never easy, but in some cases you may find that it’s the best course of action. If after careful evaluation you determine that the employee isn’t a good fit, it’s best to move forward with the termination.

Even though it’s difficult, remember to look at this as an opportunity – your other employees (and your organization as a whole) may benefit from this change.


Next Time: How to Upcycle Your Existing Content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there.

Before you go...


Get subscriber-only coupon codes, contests, and articles straight to your inbox. Sign up for newsletter today!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This