Sue, an operations manager, wrote: “I have an employee (direct report) who is on a final written warning for performance, and she’s not cutting it. I meet with her weekly to coach her to succeed, and her performance is still not meeting standards. I’m troubled by the fact that I have known her for a long time, and am practically her friend (frankly, I am her friend). Any suggestions on how I should move forward”?
The HRmeister: “Sue, your situation is not all that uncommon. If you have been clear with her as to what’s expected performance-wise, fairly and consistently used your company’s disciplinary procedures, given her sufficient time to improve, and met with her regularly (particularly while she is on her final written warning), coaching her to succeed, then it appears you have done all that you can do – the rest is up to her.
My experience with these cases is interesting. Sometimes, when the situation calls for you to move to termination, the employee may actually surprise you, and instead of asking how you could do this to her, will thank you for doing what they themselves believe needs to be done (be terminated). There could by many reasons why the employee is not performing satisfactorily. The bright side of a termination is that it may give the employee the ‘push’ they need to find another position more suitable to their skills and interests, or simply some much-needed time off to take care of a pressing personal issue.
Even if it does not turn out this way with your employee, at the end of the day, you can take comfort in knowing that you have done the ‘right thing’ for you, your employee, and your organization.