What do you need to consider before writing an employee off for good? | Fergus

What do you need to consider before writing an employee off for good? | Fergus

James Chillman, UK Country Manager for Fergus, looks at how to tackle those awkward employees before you write them off for good.

Think about your team members – you wouldn’t have a business without them, but it’s frustrating when someone isn’t up to scratch. Maybe they’re on-site or in the office. Either way, it can drag the whole team down. They might be no good, but perhaps something else is affecting their performance. Before writing someone off, here are three things to think about:

1. Clarity

Are they clear on what’s expected of them? Have a job description which outlines their role, responsibilities, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Set KPIs for each role by writing down five ways you’ll measure their performance. If a team member has been failing to complete a certain task, are you sure they know it’s their responsibility?

Also, do you have things like checklists, written procedures for the office, and quality assurance processes on-site? Having these available to your staff can help them perform their best. Finally, remember people have different learning styles. Some people learn visually, others aurally, and others by doing things. You need to know which applies to each of your team members and communicate on the same level with them.

2. Ability

Do they actually have the ability to do the job you’re asking of them and do they have the knowledge and the skills? If not, they might need training to get them up to speed, or maybe they’re just not capable of doing what you’re asking.

If that’s the case, consider looking again at your hiring processes, and ask whether there was more you could do to weed out applicants who aren’t up to scratch. It could be you didn’t advertise broadly enough to reach the best applicants, or maybe you could sort through applicants more effectively by doing short phone interviews, to ensure you only sit down with the best. Having the right person for the right role is crucial.

3. Willingness

Being clear on their role and having the ability to do it might not be of any use if your team member isn’t willing to do their job properly. Maybe they’ve got a motivation problem or a bad attitude, or in the worst cases, they’re just a bad apple.

The last thing to think about is this: what is this person’s situation? Is there something going on in their life? Are they struggling with family issues, relationship issues or even physical or mental health issues? This is worth considering, because you might have a diamond in the rough, or a top performer who’s having a bad run.

So, check in; take a minute to ask how things are going. It could make a huge difference. Stand by someone during a trying time and you could earn the loyalty of a fantastic employee!


1. Are they clear on their role?

2. Do they have the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform it?

3. Do they really lack the willingness to perform, or are there other issues affecting their performance?

Job management software for sparks Fergus streamlines and connects all the different aspects of a business. From initial quoting, through managing jobs, materials and contractors, to invoicing and chasing late payment, the software can help business owners keep track of all areas of their company by making processes more efficient.

For more details about Fergus and to book a free demo, click here

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