The MHC Blog

Powerful Business Insights for Succesful Leaders

Too Busy To Let Them Go

We have all been there, someone on your team that isn’t really cutting it, but you keep putting off the job of dealing with it and ultimately asking them to leave.  There are many reasons why you do this: 

  • They are a nice person
  • They have family relying on them
  • They have been with the Company since day one
  • It’s not their fault that the role has changed and now it’s out grown them

All of these are fabulous excuses and allow you to sleep at night putting off the inevitable.  However, what is the real cost of delaying the conversation?  Here are 3 points to take into consideration:

1.They are holding back the Company’s growth – dramatic though it sounds, holding onto to someone that has reached their potential but their role keeps expanding will be holding back your Company growth.

As Business’ grow, so do the roles within, Organisations charts expand of course, but some of the original roles, that were essential when you first started have grown in breath and accountability and sometimes the person that started out in the role is unable to grow at the same pace.

It’s important to note that often the role holder is feeling under a great deal of pressure to keep performing and doesn’t want to let you down – having the conversation will sometimes be a relief to everyone, and possibly there is a new role within the organisation chart that they will feel and perform better in, these conversations do not always end in the employee leaving.

2. The main reason an A Players leave Company’s is their frustration to the amount of time managers spend with nonperforming employees.

We often see potential in people that they themselves cannot see, and so spend many hours coaching and cajoling them doing better when really, they cannot see the point. 

How many hours do you spend with people on your team trying to get them to do the job right even though you have already explained this to them many times before? 

Shouldn’t you be spending this time with the team members that are performing at the right level and recruiting more of the same? 

Think where you are spending your time and make sure you are spending it with the right people and doing the right things.

3. It’s just a really hard conversation to have so let’s put it off to another day! Yes, it’s not a pleasant job to do, however it’s not about you it’s about them. 

Be practical and straight, it doesn’t have to be a long conversation, go in prepared with the news in a straightforward way, stop talking when the news is said, allow them time to compute what you have said and have the answer to the 3 questions they will immediately want to know:

a) what is their last day of working?

b) how much is their final settlement payment? and

c) when will their visa need to cancel?

Conversations like these should never be a surprise for the employee, you should have addressed their non-performance before now by following a disciplinary process, they should already have been issued with warning letters and a timescale of when performance should have improved by, so no surprise should they have not made the right improvement.

Being too busy is never the excuse to deal with non-performance.  Its part of being a Manager and Leader, your team will appreciate your dealing with something that they are all aware off and secretly asking why you have let it go this far. 

By ignoring poor performance, you are saying to the whole team that it’s OK to be substandard and therefore they are likely adopt the attitude that “if its Ok for them then it’s OK for me” and all work at a substandard level as well, therefore making the problem a whole lot worse.


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Claire Donnelly

Written by Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.

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