Danielle M. Verderosa

Danielle M. Verderosa

President, HR Allies

Go Ahead – Fire Your Duds

Hire slow, fire quick.

That’s some of the very best advice I can give to a #smallbusinessowner who’s found themselves in the miserable position of inadvertently having hired a Dud onto their small staff.

You know Duds – if you haven’t managed one before, you’ve definitely worked with them. Duds are the employees that bring zero value to your organization. Less-than-mediocre effort, productivity, and charm. (C’mon! If you can’t be of help to your organization, at least have charm!)

The trouble with Duds is that they don’t perform badly enough to be fired, right? They don’t actually break rules or violate policies. They just take up space on your staff — space that could much better be filled by an employee who actually cares about doing good for your company.

I hear this lament from small business owner clients all the time: I wish this Dud would do SOMETHING that’d justify me firing him, but he’s staying just enough out of trouble that I can’t.

I’m here to tell you: you CAN fire someone, even if they haven’t broken one of your rules. In fact, you should. You should fire them as soon as their Dud status becomes evident.

Before you do, though, here are some things to consider first to mitigate any legal claims made by your former Dud:

😩 Can you find the words to describe the Dud’s negative impact to your company? Is he lazy? Idle? Grumpy all the time? Full of excuses? Inaccurate in his work product? Rude or disrespectful to his co-workers? Keep handwritten or electronic notes on his undesirable behavior.

😩 If you can’t find the words to describe him, talk through the Dud’s behavior with your #HR consultant. They’ll help you define it. Never let a Dud go if you’ve only got a feeling that he’s bringing down your organization – that intangible “feeling” is often construed as a code word for illegal discrimination.

😩 Don’t keep your concerns a secret to the Dud! As soon as you see he’s not just having One Bad Day, it’s your responsibility to let him know that things are awry. The first time you bring it to his attention, show compassion for any external factors that might be causing his poor performance (without allowing those factors to excuse it.) Give the Dud a very short period of time to turn things around. If he doesn’t, you can communicate more sternly and give him a second chance on a Performance Improvement Plan.

If you recognize you’ve got a Dud in your small business and thought you were saddled with them ’til they quit, cheer up! And let’s talk, confidentially and for free.

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