Let Your Low Performer Go Now

· by Julie Blackmon

Julie is one of our Career Transition Coaches in our Outplacement group. She brings over 10 years of recruiting experience to her role. Julie has been with HTI since 2011.
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I know, I know. That seems harsh. Hear me out. Here are some reasons you should let your low performer go now.

If you have ever managed a team before, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to let someone go. Unfortunately, that remains a duty that rests on the shoulders of supervisors and managers. So why would we encourage you to rush that process? Because in our years of providing outplacement services if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that timing is everything. Efficient timing of a layoff is prudent for your company and the affected employee(s).

Experienced managers, you can usually tell when someone is not going to be the right fit for the position at your organization. When that happens, you likely have a due diligence process to follow. That might involve verbal warning(s), written warning(s), and then a performance improvement plan for example. If at the end of the performance improvement period there are still too many performance gaps, then it is time to cut ties.

However, letting go of low performers doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. If they’re not the right fit for you, they could be right for someone else. Our Career Transition Services team can help these employees make the transition into their next position with dignity.

If you find yourself in a similar scenario, consider these points when timing the reduction of your workforce.

This is crunch time for a lot of businesses. We are halfway through the year, and if projections aren’t lining up with expectations, it may be time to start thinking about making some hard choices. While these conversations start happening now, hesitation to make the final decision can delay the downsizing process significantly. For example, if the process begins in late June/July, then it may take until the beginning of November to execute the workforce reduction plan. Often times, the intention is that this is better than waiting until the holidays to let go of employees.

But, here’s the thing. Delaying a layoff isn’t any better.

Especially if they didn’t see it coming. As we can all imagine, it takes some time to process a layoff.  It is both emotionally and financially difficult, and if someone doesn’t know where to begin with their job search,  it could take some time before they start to dig themselves out of the hole.

Not to mention, if they’re not expecting a layoff, they most likely don’t have a resume ready. Imagine if you had to look for a job TODAY. Would your resume be ready to send out? To an inexperienced resume writer, that could be a huge hurdle to jump, and you really can’t start looking for a job without it.

 Realistically, that employee has about 4-6 weeks before the job market shuts down from Thanksgiving to New Years.

Often, a company thinks that they did an employee a favor by not laying off in the thick of the holidays, but actually, they gave them just enough time to get themselves in a pickle. If the employee can’t find a job before mid-November they will end up waiting until the new year before they start to see traction in the job search. Labor market trends show there’s just not a lot of hiring that happens until about mid-January. So, even with a 12-week severance, the employee that’s just been let go is still looking at not having a job, or severance to fall back on come the New Year.

With that in mind, our recommendation is to be realistic with your projections.

If things aren’t going to turn around quickly, make some swift but compassionate moves within your own organization. Letting the low performers go, with the help of a qualified outplacement service, earlier in the year gives them more time to land something before the job market softens during the holidays. Don’t drag out the difficult decision. Act now so your business and the employees that are separating have time to recover.

The new year and the fall are peak recruiting seasons.

Ultimately, recruiting is very cyclical in nature. Regardless of industry, but especially in automotive manufacturing, there is a dip in hiring from June to August, and again in November and December. January to May, and September and October are the best time for job searching. Therefore, if you find your company performing under expectations now, start evaluating your workforce now so that if cuts need to be made, they will happen by mid to late August. The forethought and consideration of this course of action will sustain your company’s reputation with your employees and the community.

We know that the decision to make a reduction is always difficult, no matter the circumstance. HTI would love to partner with you to alleviate your concerns and compassionately care for any associates affected.