Does That Failing Employee Deserve a Second Chance?

You’ve caught one of your employees playing online poker again instead of working. It might be time to let that employee go. Or maybe you should you give him a second chance. As Ramon Ray discussed recently on his TweakYourBiz post, before you show the employee the door, think through your options and determine whether you've contributed to the problem.

You don't want to be too hasty in firing an employee who is obviously struggling. Remember that on-​boarding  a new employee and getting her up to speed costs time, and therefore money. Consider the seriousness of the current employee's offense and consider whether you, as the manager, can help this person turn around her situation.

As you probably know by now, being a sales manager has its challenges. One of those challenges, according to C. Lee Smith, President and CEO of SalesFuel, is the constant pressure to deal with employees who are not making goal and maybe haven’t made goal in a while.

Failing to achieve goal is a problem that might be corrected with proper attention and training by you — the manager. To address the problem, start by sitting down with the rep and talk about what’s wrong. Maybe this person needs extra training and coaching before she feels confident about reaching out to prospects. Maybe she needs help organizing her time. Whatever the problem is, get to the bottom of it and develop a work plan. Be clear about your expectations. Establish a schedule you can both agree to.  Be sure to check the sales rep's progress on the goals.

If the employee’s work output improves, you’ll know you’re on the right track. That sales rep will likely be thankful you took the extra time and energy to help her along. On the other hand, if the work output doesn’t improve, it will be time to have that difficult conservation and tell her she needs to seek employment elsewhere.

As a sales manager, you also know some rules can’t be broken. There are no second chances for employees who have been caught stealing from the company, for example. But other negative employee behavior is not so clear cut. Take the time to understand what’s happening with your employee. As a sales manager you have a chance to make a positive contribution to your employee’s future and there are few things more rewarding than that.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.