The longest time in a manager’s life is the time between when you decide to part ways with an employee and take action to part ways with them.Relationships are seldom out of balance: if there is an issue that one side feels, usually the other side feels it as well. If you’re not happy with the work your employee is doing, it’s almost always the case that they aren’t happy in the position they’re in either. My opinion is that it’s crueler to keep someone on who can do more and be happier somewhere else than it is to let them go. There will be discomfort on both sides at the separation, but in the long run, it ends up being better for everyone involved. My friend’s rule isn’t hard and fast—I’ve heard other people discuss firing the entire bottom quarter of their staff every 3–6 months. And as much as an underperforming staff member costs you, paying out unemployment insurance to the equivalent of a quarter of your team or dealing with the headaches associated with frequent turnover isn’t cheap either. Morale is also put at risk if you blindly stick to one rule in disregard of the changing circumstances of your business. Nevertheless, my friend’s hard-line tactic should get you asking yourself this question: When was the last time you cleaned house?
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