Does That Failing Employee Deserve a Second Chance?

by | 2 minute read

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.