A tricky situation: How to handle firing when an employee needs a job?
What do you do when you have an employee who is in dire need of a job and does not perform? He is in his probation period and is not performing after the first warning. Fire him ?

From India, Chandigarh
Dear Gazal,

There are two issues about this probationer. One is his dire need for job and another is his sense of responsibility. You are looking at former but not latter. If he were to be responsible person, then he should have improved his performance.

If after giving warning on his poor performance, if he fails to improve, then either he is unfit for the job or lacks sense of responsibility. If he is unfit for the job then it showcases poor recruitment. Organisation is responsible for wasting time and resources on this person. If he is fit, qualified to do the job but not performing then he lacks sense of responsibility. For his weakness why you are taking a guilt trip?

You can take the horse to the water but cannot make drink the water goes the famous adage. Why feel sorry for a horse that prefers to be thirsty than move for the water?

Managers or HR professionals need to think from head. Let the thoughts originate at heart but these should pass through head. By removing under-performing probationer, you will be doing justice to the organisation. His removal will send a signal to everybody that your organisation values the culture of performance. As a HR professional, you should put organisation's interest before individual's interest. Therefore, go ahead and sack him if situation merits sacking!


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
I echo Dinesh , introspection might help. What is the cause for under-performance ?
You had hired him as he were a right fit to what you required for the role.
Under-performance gets triggered due to many reason, both internal and external.
Assuming that you have offered support to perform followed by warning, how have the new-hire responded to the support?
Its easy to fire. But then, with that hiring costs doubles , needless to mention the training efforts that goes down the drain.
Work with the new-hire and help him perform. He had taken up the job, because he wanted to do something with his skills and not just earn money.
Identify the motivations and coach .
A leader of mine once told me, "you don't need managers to make performers perform. Make the under-performer perform and show me your potential"
Wish you all the best !

From India, Mumbai
Have a one on one discussion with the employee. If he is going through a bad patch in personal life which also is the reason for his poor performance but has competence to show results in near future, you may like to consider appropriately. Be guided by your conscience

Hello Gazal Kalia,

Since you are a member of this Forum since Feb, 2015, it may be pertinent to suggest you to give ALL the relevant inputs for the other members to give practical & workable suggestions/solutions.

Else, you are leaving the facts of the case to each member's understanding of the situation [which could be right or wrong]--in the process loosing sight of the best-possible solution that can work for you.

1] What's your locus-standi--are you the HR?

2] What's the function of this employee--workman or executive level?

3] It would be better IF you can elaborate on what actions have 'so far' been taken by the Company--IF at all. Like Dinesh Divekar & (Cite Contribution) pointed-out, a lot usually depends on 'from what/which angles' was the counselling/interaction between the employee & Company in such situations--whether any workable solution emerges.

4] Any idea of his family background? Quite often, the employee hesitates to share family issues that COULD be effecting his/her work performance UNLESS someone from the Organization spends some time & effort to understand his/her personal issues [for which AGAIN it depends on the sort of Comfort level the Organization has tried to create]. Since you say he is still in Probation, I am not so sure IF this has been done.

5] Have you checked about his inter-personal relationships with his boss/peers? Any issues on that front?

In a nutshell, WHAT exactly is/are the problem(s)--from YOUR perspective? Forget about the solution(s) for now.

Unless one knows the problem, I don't think one can even work towards a solution, let alone finding it/them.

Like (Cite Contribution) mentioned, "Its easy to fire". However, never foreclose that option--it has to be available as the LAST one on the table. If you give any indication to any employee that 'firing' is NOT an option, you are bound to have other behavioral/attitude issues that you will find tougher to handle later.

Pl give more details of the case so that the members can lead you to the most realistic/workable & relevant suggestions.



From India, Hyderabad
Hi All,
Your instant reply is highly appreciated !!
We had not checked with his past performances and no reference check was done. The performer is of junior level and comes from a normal background. Will be taking care of these things in future.
I think I shall go with your suggestion of taking care of my company's growth and on a whole and not individual growth.
Since, I am new in HR and need to learn alot. I appreciate everyone's time.
Thanks & Regards,
Gazal Kalia.

From India, Chandigarh
Hello Gazal Kalia,
I think you missed a small--BUT CRUCIAL--point of what all the members mentioned/suggested.
Pl note that "taking care of my company's growth and on a whole and not individual growth" is a misnomer & IMPRACTICAL. Any Organization's growth is intimately LINKED with each & every employee's growth--except that 'where' you draw the line for each employee would be different depending on the situations/conditions vis-a-vis each of them.
What Dinesh Divekar & (Cite Contribution) were suggesting/referring-to was this aspect of the choices--at least that's how I understood it as.
No Organization can thrive with the employees unhappy over a long term OR over major issues.
All the Best.

From India, Hyderabad
Dear Gazal,
It's good you decided to act on the advice of (Cite Contribution)/Dinesh and Taj Sateesh.Keep in mind that poor performance may be due to lack of training imparted to an employee or the work assigned to him/her is beyond his capabilities.In my long career of three and a half decades I have seen very efficient workers failing miserably when assigned roles involving difficult decision making.So,please analyse these aspects before invoking the last option of sacking him.

From India, New Delhi
First check his past performance. secondly check his interest in work. If he is not suitable for a given job check which department he will suit well and talk to him for his passion in other job. Give a chance and then take a decision
From India, Bangalore
By sacking the Employee, an opportunity to work further in that job profile & Company is denied.
However, as an Organization,it is important to realize what were the shortcomings and their causes?
Was it knowledge /skill /attitude?
This is very important for the organization. If these things are identified, they can be focus-ed upon during the recruitment process. This enables identifying the right person and minimizes chance of failure.
Thank you.

From India, Mumbai

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