A question company heads often grapple with is why anyone would want to fire a worker who was a good performer. Well, as a company goes through the stages of incubation, growth, maturity and decline, employees tend to reach a stage when they stop being efficient. So what do you do when the same happens to your best employees, especially after your initial attempts to change the situation have failed. Varuni Khosla finds out.
Performance Reviews -regular performance reviews must take place to evaluate the difficulties that employees face as the company grows. "A sole focus on numbers may not give the full picture; one has to understand the circumstances that encumber the employee from performing well. Some hand-holding is required to help employees transition into the new phase that the company / department / team has entered. If this fails, the employee will most likely start looking out for new opportunities - after all no one likes to consistently fail.
Be Open and Transparent
Transparency earns trust. Have an open discussion with the employee on the reasons for letting the person go. It is important to ensure that employees understand that the organisation has evolved and that while they were instrumental in getting the organisation to the current stage, their skill sets may no longer be aligned to the current requirements of the organisation. Be appreciative of the contribution that the employee made to the organisation in the early stages and make sure that the organisation knows it too. "This will ensure that the employee leaves your organisation with her/his head held high and will keep the lines of communication open, should you ever have the need to hire the employee back.
Incentive Structures - This is especially helpful in startups where a large part of the compensation is based on performance. Your best performers would have earned very well at one time. Now as their performance drops, their pay will too, and they will start to feel de-motivated and will look out for better paying jobs. A drop in incentives can also be looked at as a signal to counsel the employee to leave and look for better opportunities, says Balbir.
'Counsel to Leave' Policy -A number of companies follow an HR policy of 'up or out', which means that each position comes with a tenure. Once passed, each employee is evaluated and either taken to the next level or is given the counsel to leave the organisation. When companies follow such policies, along with timely performance reviews, a culture of competition gets created. "As performance drops consistently, employees prime themselves and automatically start looking for opportunities elsewhere," says Gujral.
Extend Relevant Support
This was your star performer at one stage. Let the employee know that you are willing to extend relevant support as she/he searches for new opportunities. Be open to providing reference to employees in their job search, emphasising on the skills and work that they have done in building your organisation. If possible, extend your networking support to them. "After all, your star performers are your best brand ambassadors and you would want them to spread a positive image of your organisation," says Balbir.