Exiting Underperforming Staff

Exiting underperforming staff can be touch and go without the right formula. Workplace laws prevent the termination of staff without good reason. Many businesses have no way monitoring staff to know whether they are performing or not, and simply ‘feel’ that someone is not doing their job or see an increase in complaints about that staff member. This often continues for several months before either the staff member leaves or the business owners exits them from the business. By now the damage has been done, the work is behind and clients are complaining.

With a solid performance management framework, you can quickly identify underperformers and exit them from the business before any damage is done and cover your backside against any comeback.

What methods are you using to quickly identify underperforming staff and exit them from the business?


That’s a very interesting subject. And this is something where I’m a bit dumbfounded because the amount of stress that comes with an underperforming person that we want to manage out and the potential to have the company go to court on this is really quite crippling when managing people in or out should just be business as usual in a sense.

In France, getting people out is not so big a deal and we even have a “contractual dismissal” where every one agrees that the experience has “failed” somehow and the employee is allowed to go and still retain his rights to unemployment benefits. I know we are burdening the social system with contributions to the welfare state in France but somehow, when it comes to laying off people, this is just another day in business life. And in a sense, when you think at how ridiculously stressful such an occurrence can be, it sometimes looks like we are more liberal than over here.

So how do you manage this? probably data will tell you that for 3-4 intake (assumption here), there may be one that will have to be managed out within a short to medium or even longer timeframe. That’s 25% of the wage cost. You also know that the courts are allowing at most 3 months worth of income to the departing employee on average or if there’s substantial evidence then probably more but that will be rather exceptional. So you start building up a fund to cover 5-6 months of 25% of the wage cost to cover the cheque, the cost associated in making up for errors and bonus for the remaining employees that will need to bridge until a suitable replacement is found.

if this happens, then you front it with the knowledge that your cash flow can support it. You take care of a situation before it becomes a threat to the overall organisation. Your clients are happy, your team is happy because you are protecting them by doing that and you are happy because you have a choice… and there is no stress.

So essentially, you are making up for the wellfare state so you can take your decisions and go through with it in a business like manner, and you get to enjoy a glass of wine for the last day of this employee… sometimes I think the French have some stuff all figured out ahahah

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In NZ, its a difficult process for sure. You have to jump through several rounds of “Performance Improvement Plans” and show that you have given, opportunity, training and time for the employee to improve.

AU has a 6 month trial period is this right? NZ has only 90 days I think that it should be longer, good for both parties to know!

USA has the best approach here,… Donald Trump style… “Your Fired” Haha… but that will have cultural implications I am sure.