Half of managers too frightened to sack a poor performing employee

View Latest News Publish Date: 19-Sep-2011

Half of managers too frightened to sack a poor performing employee

Half of all employers would rather put-up with a poor performing employee than deal with the issue and terminate a contract. Why? They are worried about the employees reaction and the potential costs of legal action.


In a study of 1,000 employers just over half (53%) said that they found the initial sacking decision and the process difficult. An additional fifth (19%) said that the process was easy, and 28% said that it depended on the circumstances.


Georgina Read, who conducted the research, said


“Letting go of a member of staff can be difficult. However, business must remain business and managers should not allow their personal fears or opinions to stand in the way.


The top ten reasons why managers shy away from firing an underperforming employee are:


  • Scared of employee’s reaction – 59% 
  • Like the employee but aren’t happy with their performance – 55% 
  • The employee is a friend outside of the workplace – 43% 
  • Fear the dismissal may lead to a legal process – 41% 
  • Negative backlash on the company’s reputation – 36% 
  • Suspect the employee will go to a rival business – 27% 
  • Unsure of employee’s legal rights – 22% 
  • Concerns about colleagues’ reactions to employee’s dismissal – 21% 
  • Feel guilty about the effect job loss may have on the employee and their family – 18% 
  • Concerns about starting an ongoing feud – 13%


Fear of being blackmailed by a sacked employee was given as the reason for not dismissing a poor performer by 2% of the companies.


Lord Sugar makes firing people look so easy in the Board Room of the BBC TV Series the Apprentice, which can make a manager feel even less confident about what is essentially a business decision, not a personal one.


After several series of the hit TV show and many years in business Lord Sugar has developed the confidence that comes with experience. The key to success for managers is to get trained in how to deal with performance, disciplinary and dismissal situations.


Taking away someone’s livelihood should never be a decision that is taken lightly, but neither should it be a decision that keeps managers awake at night wondering how to do it.

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