Should You Re-Train or Fire That Struggling Employee?

Most managers would rather not fire anyone. It’s a messy process, emotional and tedious, trying to abide by all termination policies and procedures. Plus, talk about ruining someone’s day, week, month, or even year—putting them out of work and making them go through a stressful job search. And then you have to worry about replacing them?! You’d probably rather work with that struggling employee and help them overcome their weaknesses and get the training they need. And still, sometimes that retraining isn’t worth it. Here’s how you know whether to invest in the training or just let go of the struggling employee.

Consider the firing costs

Despite ruining someone’s day, firing might seem like a quick and easy way to get rid of an ineffective employee and start fresh with someone new. But it’s not that simple. With a vacant position, you’ll have to burden your other employees with some extra responsibilities and maybe even pay out overtime. When people are stressed and overworked, morale will suffer. Then you’ll be forced to recruit, hire, and onboard a replacement. That transition period will probably be distracting to your other employees, costing you productivity, time, and money.

Weigh the training costs

But let’s not pretend that retraining doesn’t cost time and money, too. You might have to pay for online courses, seminars and workshops, or even classes at a community college or vocational school. At the very least, retraining will mean that this particular employee will be busy learning and not being productive for a while. Or, perhaps you can simply rely on your other employees to work with your struggling one. It might be enough just to sit down with them for a few hours each day, teaching them your company’s procedures and systems. But this means that at least two of your employees will have decreased productivity until everyone’s up to speed.

Envision the firing

Despite the costs of time, money, and morale, there are times when firing is your best option. If you have an employee with a toxic presence or who’s done something dishonest or damaging, let go of that person. Those types of acts can destroy your company culture and that’s certainly not worth it. Or, if you have an employee who’s not willing to learn new skills or invest the necessary time into training, say goodbye to that person. Retraining is only worth it if that struggling employee is willing to learn, grow, and improve. You need someone who’s naturally curious, who acknowledges the gaps in their skills and knowledge, and who takes responsibility for their professional development.

Evaluate, decide, and execute

So now it’s time to really weigh the pros and cons of firing versus retraining. If the employee is willing to pursue the training, then you need to assess the financial and temporal costs of that training against the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training. Remember that there’s no guarantee that, should you choose to fire, your replacement employee won’t end up having similar issues. You can always teach new skills and knowledge, but you can’t teach attitude and work ethic.

For help managing your employees and finding the right staffing solutions to fit your company’s unique needs, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh