Can I Sack Him?

Submitted by Dawn on 16th June 2015

Human Resources - Firing Employees

If I had a pound for every time a Manager said “I’m fed up with Joe Blogs, he’s rubbish; can I sack him?” I’d have a nice little savings pot by now.

My response is always the same “Do you think he knows that he’s rubbish?”  This is met with one of two reactions:

1)    the experienced Manager will look a little sheepish; because they know what’s coming next;


2)    the inexperienced Manager will look at me genuinely baffled by the question 

There are numerous reasons why employees can be perceived as being ‘rubbish’ at their jobs.  In some cases it’s not perception and the employee is a poor performer or simply bone idle.  They feel that because they ‘rock up to work’ each day they are fulfilling their side of the bargain, and unless challenged they are unlikely to change.

On the other hand, most employees genuinely want to do a good job, and believe that they are doing a good job, but why shouldn’t they if they’ve never been told otherwise?  Here lies the problem, with many Managers failing to grasp the basic concept of managing people.

In fairness, the finger can’t always be pointed at the Manager; the issue often lies within the organisation.  Many companies are keen to “grow their own” and advocate internal promotion, with employees swiftly rising up the ranks from the shop floor to management.

In theory this is great, rewarding hard work and loyalty and providing career progression for enthusiastic staff.  However, the transition from leaving the shop floor on a Friday night as ‘one of the lads’ to ‘managing your work-mates’ on the Monday morning can be a huge challenge.   It is often rewarded with a catchy new job title and a salary increase but sadly no ‘tools to do the job’.

The fundamental role of any Manager is to ‘Manage’ their employees (the clue is in the job title); yet many companies assume that this is an inherent skill that will be automatically acquired when the new Manager is promoted.

You have all heard the phrase ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’; in fact, we like this so much that we wrote a blog about it.

Most of us are happy to share good news and would enjoy telling an employee they were getting a pay increase, or a bonus.  But what happens when the tables are turned?  How many of us would be as keen to tell someone that their work wasn’t up to standard?

Most people shy away from giving bad news.  It’s awkward and it makes us feel uncomfortable doesn’t it?  But it doesn’t have to.  Like all new skills, we have to learn and practice them until we become competent.

So, how should you upskill your new Managers? This will vary depending on the size and nature of your business, but the general principles are the same:

  • Employees should know and understand what is expected of them
  • Encourage open, honest dialogue between employees and Managers
  • Identify what skills may be lacking and agree action plans for improvement
  • Meet regularly to review progress and give feedback
  • Hold employees accountable for their job performance

Managing people is not rocket science, but if not applied properly it can result in poor productivity, conflict, a lack of engagement and an unprofitable business.

If you want to find out more about upskilling your Managers contact Dawn or Mark on 01604 763494 or fill in the form to the right of this page.

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