Over the last two years the department I am a manager of has grown and evolved into some thing completely different then was originally intended. Three of the employees that work under me had a more drastic change in what they were responsible then others. Through coaching and mentoring two of these employees have done extremely well.

One employee is doing as little of the new responsibilities as possible and doing his old responsibilities as slow as possible so he does not have time to do the new ones. I have talked to him (feed back, one-on-one, etc) and I have given him written bad reviews.

To complicate things one of my top preforming employees is his room mate in a apartment. They could not afford the apartment on one salary. But I know the employee that is a top performer is trying to buy a house an will no longer be living with this employee. There are other departments with openings for the job he wants to do, but i don,t want to move my problem onto some one else. He also never expressed a desire to transfer when i talked about the change.

So I guess the problem boils down to how to I let this employee go with out losing the other? Do I pull the other employee aside and talk to them after i let the employee go? Should I talk to every team member?

Thank you in advance for the help, this will be the first employee I have had to let go.

bteachman's picture
Training Badge


Welcome to the manager tools forum. I have had a similar experience and my advice is pretty simple.

You can not make low productivity acceptable. You have to let him go. I would get all your paper work figured out and done, go over what he is working on with him, and then let him go at the end of the day. As for the other team member, I am sure that he notices that the other team member is not pulling his weight. The following morning i would schedule a meeting with him at his convince and just let him know that you value his work. As for the rest of the team, i would think they would come to you if they have concerns.

BartMasters's picture

Hi Bob,

I have to agree with Brandon. You say you have been doing feedback, o3s, and written bad reviews. Have you listened to the "How to fire someone" podcast? That runs through this procedure, and talks about late stage coaching (aka "If you dont improve xxxx, I will sack you").

If you have done all of this (And dont forget to flat out tell them "If you dont improve, you are going to be sacked"), and if they still won't improve - unfortunately you only have one choice. Just make sure you can sleep easily knowing you have done everything in your power to give them the chance to turn themselves around.

Good luck!

US41's picture

A disturbing situation.

I'm not convinced that you should be planning to fire anyone yet. The third person did not adapt well to the change. Before you take that step, ensure that you have not asked them to do more than they are capable of. You pulled this guy's job out from under him and expected a lot from him. OK, so he's not a top performer and he doesn't like his new role. Maybe you can rearrange things so that he's not in this new role rather than simply pushing and pushing as hard as you can to get a square peg into a round hole, and failing all else, burn the puzzle you're playing with?

I've had people who worked for me who, after a re-org, were not performing in their new roles. I didn't move to fire them. I tried the same things you have with helping them through it with feedback, guidance, O3's, delegation, coaching, etc. And, sometimes it didn't work. When it didn't, firing was not the only other option. Instead, I found them something else to do that was less pertinent and put someone else in the job.

Assuming you have already considered that and ruled it out... Have "The 90 Days to Fix This" conversation. This is not a feedback session. This is a sit down serious talk where you threaten them with being let go. "Joe, you've not been performing as well as I had hoped, and I'm disappointed. List the things they have not done, the dates they missed, the failure to take action etc. Tell them they have 90 days to turn all dials and readouts from red to green and from empty to full, and tell them you will meet weekly to review their short-term objectives and tell them how they are doing against them. If things look bleak at any point, it will just be over. Let them know very bluntly - "If after [time period] it is clear that we're still in the same place and you have not begun a turnaround, I am going to cut you loose." If he picks it up, then keep going. If he doesn't - pull the plug and give someone else a shot.

As for the living situation - pay no attention to that. It is irrelevant and whatever you do will probably be sorted out by them and their own survival instinct. I doubt you will lose both of them. Keeping a job is a powerful thing. Ignore it.

jhack's picture

Good people know who the poor performers are, and they're happy and/or relieved when the poor performers are let go.

...even when they're all friends outside of work. (Don't you think their friendship might be strained by what's happening at work?)