How do you know when it is time to say good bye to an employee? Surely, there may be plenty of signs to tell you that you are not a good match, but we often tend to have that shadow of doubt when terminating a relationship.

According to the work of Rick Brocato and Marc De Simone, the following five questions are a must before throwing in the towel:

1. Does the employee clearly understand your expectations?
Before labeling your team-mate as lazy, unprofessional, incompetent or inexperienced, you may want to make sure that your expectations are clear to them. We often think that everyone has the same idea when it comes to working style and productivity. But what if this is not the case and the only true problem is miscommunication?

2. Have you removed all organizational roadblocks?
Removing obstacles helps employees to be more productive.

And, more often than not these obstacles are quite easy to remove: a few policies or regulations, internal politics, extra paperwork or a lack of critical resources. Once your team have all they need, a lot of your difficulties may disappear.

Note: However, do not get too involved in the personal problems your employees may have. Let your helping hand be restricted to the internal organization.

3. Is the employee fully trained and has he or she had enough time to practice?
Practice makes perfect. And no matter how fast-paced the business world is, allowing your team sufficient time to learn and make mistakes is necessary.

4. Have you motivated the employee to perform?
Catch employees doing something right and tell them about it. Motivation is a powerful tool to increase productivity anf pinpointing what your team members do right – is often the best way to make sure they work harder and make fewer mistakes.

5. Is the employee capable and/or willing to do the work?
Simply put, is it that he or she CAN’T get it done or simply WON’T do it?

In the former case, one of the solutions  may be to move them to a different department or role, that may better match their abilities.

In the latter case, i.e. if the employee is unwilling to do their job, it is time to terminate their employment. As a business owner, you simply can not afford to keep paying someone who is not willing to produce results.

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