Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by Jared Weitz
Many entrepreneurs would likely admit that letting go of employees is among the hardest parts of their job. This is largely because entrepreneurs are naturally opposed to giving up in any facet of life. Letting go of any employee can feel like giving up on the task of teaching this person to be the very best at what they do. So, you can only imagine how disappointing it is to have to let go of an employee who helped you grow your business— someone you’ve trusted for years.
Senior level employees are held to higher standards, and not just in regards to performance. Problems with performance can usually be fixed. But I’ve found that when senior level employees lose track of their additional responsibilities, all the warnings in the world won’t get them to revert back to their original selves.
Here are three ways to tell if you should let go of a senior level employee:
Failure to respond to adversity
Rough patches will reveal the employees who truly care about the company. When adversity strikes, these employees will step up their efforts and work to eliminate any flaws that could be contributing to the company’s struggles. Senior level employees have the additional responsibility of setting an example for the rest of the team. They are expected to exude discipline, proactivity, humility, and all other qualities of the quintessential high level employee. In other words, your senior level employees should demonstrate that rough patches are an invitation to wake up and remember that there is always room for improvement, no matter how much success you’ve achieved thus far.
If a senior level employee doesn’t react in this manner, it’s especially hazardous because this person could likely play a major role in the company’s recovery. When my company was in a rough patch, I was shocked when one of my senior employees showed no desire to improve. He just continued doing the bare minimum and barely participated at company meetings. Unfortunately, this was the first of several hints that his days were numbered.
More of a burden than an asset
As an entrepreneur, I am extremely grateful to have senior level employees who frequently critique my ideas. I’m not perfect. My ideas often need fine-tuning before they are put into action. Certain employees who spend more time speaking to clients or studying data might tell me something about our target audience that I previously was not aware of. These criticisms, however, are clearly motivated by the goal of helping the company succeed. It’s okay to challenge your boss as long as you can back up your criticism with validity.
I was accustomed to being challenged by the ex-employee from the first section, but only on occasion. Once this employee began to challenge almost every new idea I had, I began to suspect that his criticisms were just personal disagreements. He didn’t like the direction the company was taking and was apparently challenging me out of spite. I knew for sure there was a problem when the employee went from being an asset to a productive burden.
Other employees are more deserving of this status
My eventual decision to let the employee go was confirmed by the notable growth of numerous other employees, particularly those at the entry level. These employees were already due for a raise and their response to the aforementioned rough patch proved that they cared about the company. The senior level employee, on the other hand, was getting paid considerably more but bringing in considerably less revenue.
I essentially concluded that promoting a few lower level employees would be a better use of the high level employee’s salary. Neglecting to reward their extraordinary efforts during such a difficult time may have jeopardized the employees’ loyalty. I wasn’t about to let the combination of the rough patch and the senior level employee’s carelessness make that happen.
Like I said before, senior level employees should be aware that they are expected to maintain their status. This way, they won’t have any reason to feel threatened by the progress of their colleagues. Nobody wants their employees to be too competitive but in the case of rough patches, high level employees should feel more pressure than the rest of the team to rise to the occasion.
Some connections cannot be repaired
It’s hard to become a senior level employee without developing a strong connection to your company. Therefore, when the individual loses that connection, he or she also loses sight of what differentiates high and mid/low level employees in the first place. I suggest making this clear to all of your senior level employees before they become complacent and expect unconditional job security.
Jared Weitz is the founder and CEO of United Capital Source Inc, a business loan marketplace.