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How To Fire An Employee For Poor Performance?


Firing an employee is quite a challenging task. We know that employees’ poor performance is not going to be beneficial for the organization. So, eliminating an employee from the payroll is a valid choice. However, it is easier said than done! An organization must have valid records and reasons for the termination of employment if it is not an at-will termination. It may be fair to give employees chances for improvement. But what if, despite repeated attempts, they fail to show progress? Hence, employers must choose wisely! The need for compliance with employee rights and preventing the risks of illicit termination poses great challenges to employers. When the underperforming employee finds the termination letter a bolt from the blue, the HR manager must be effective enough to provide accurate justification backed by legal resources. The employee performance monitoring tools play a key role in this process as they offer a liable report of the consistent underperformance by the employee. These are just the broad factors that make the termination process difficult. There are several possibilities for negative impacts. So, get a hold of the best way to fire someone who underperforms through our expert ideas.


Do you expect to make the process of firing an employee for poor performance smooth? Are you an employee-friendly manager/leader who hates having a bad impression on other employees? If you are struggling to execute the termination of employment without discomfort for anyone, you first need to ensure that all the prior evaluations are complete and legitimate. Your goal may be to not make anyone feel bad. But, as a business owner/ manager, you must navigate this task for the organization’s benefit. Just sending a detailed termination letter with all the reports of the employee’s bad performance at work isn’t enough. You may risk the motivation and enthusiasm of other employees. So, analyze the effects of severing an employee from the payroll, deconstruct past experiences, examine the industry’s best practices, and seek the guidance of experts.


Before knowing how to fire an employee for poor performance, let us understand the advantages of doing so. As a sensible person, you may look forward to retaining your employees. But remember, “One bad apple spoils the whole barrel!”. If the termination of employment of underperformers doesn’t happen at the right time, an entire project can be ruined. Remember, the employee performance monitoring tools are the guiding light toward your company’s progress. Make periodic evaluations and take those results seriously. Though hiring a new resource and onboarding might be more expensive, terminating an employee with poor performance possibly brings much more profits. So, ultimately you can achieve cost-effective and productive results for the organization. Below are some of the expert ideas on employee termination that are time-tested and proven to be effective.


  • Start With An Opportunity For Improvement

A good employer/manager must always encourage employees’ improvement in their jobs after self-realization of their low performance. So, as an initial step, try giving the employee another chance to perform better until the next appraisal. This will make your employer-employee relationship stronger and other employees also feel motivated. However, watch out for the results of the employee performance monitoring tools as this could be the last resort for the employee to save himself from termination. Make your further decisions based on these results.

  • Prepare For The Barriers

The process of employee termination comes with several barriers. Even top companies have faced difficulties in handling chaos while firing employees for underperformance. Unlike at-will termination where the employee resigns on his/her own, firing the underperformers will cause risks due to employees and legal sources. So, have a strong rationale for the termination of employment.

  • Have Legitimate Documentation

Every organization needs to have a termination guide/handbook that lists the documents and procedures necessary for the firing process. Be ready with as many legitimate documents regarding employee performance and legal regulations as needed. Never give the space for questioning the liability of your choice of terminating the employee for poor performance. You must produce records of your warnings/requests for corrective actions, opportunities offered to the employee for improvement, performance reports, and client complaints if any. Remember! This termination is about their underperformance, not about you!

  • Write a Detailed Termination Letter

The most significant part of the termination is to notify the employee with an extensive and authentic termination letter. It is known that the termination notice might be a surprise to the employees. However, it is the knack of the manager/employer to write a detailed letter that elaborates on the reason for termination and the company’s policies. The notice must be convincingly well-written justifying the firing of the employee after several futile attempts to retain them.

  • Plan The Meeting Appropriately

Following the issuance of the termination letter/notice, the manager must arrange a personal meeting with the employee. This meeting must be accompanied by one or more executives to display the need for the decision made. The time and place must be suitable for the employees and managers to discuss without any chaos. Some companies also issue termination notices during this meeting. However it is recommended that the employee be notified earlier so that the meeting can go smoother.

  • Emphasize The Facts

While firing an employee, make sure you have all the facts and records to indicate their underperformance during the meeting. Highlight the fact that despite the company’s repeated requests to improve his/her performance, the reports showed unproductive results. Give no room for doubt or argument! Stress on the company’s policy of intolerance towards continuous bad performance in job tasks.

  • Keep It Private

The entire termination process must be kept private. Right from the issuance of notice to the separation process, other employees must not be notified. This is the best way of firing an employee because the organization has to maintain its professionalism and not distract or intimidate other employees.

  • Assign An Escort For The Employee

Though this step is optional, it is suggested that assigning personnel to escort the employee after termination is better. Since, this termination is due to poor work performance and not done at the employee’s will, having someone escort the employee once all procedures are complete can avoid disputes.
To sum up, for an organization to grow in the competitive market, firing underperforming employees is as important as retaining exceptional ones. So, decide for your company and follow these expert ideas to have a seamless termination process.

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