Have You Ever Fired A Team Member on the First Day?

BY Kathy Crosett
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If there’s anyone in an organization who’s more excited about the first day than a new employee, it would be the immediate supervisor. After all, you are the one who’s probably been working extra hours to cover the manpower shortage in your department. And, you’ve likely seen something in this candidate’s personality and skill set that you know will help your team reach its goals. Given all that, is there ever an instance when an employee should be terminated on his first day?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, says Liz Ryan. There is a reason most companies have a probationary period in place. This time period is the best way for you and your new hire to get to know each other. In some cases, you won’t need the full probationary period to know it's time to walk your employee to the door. Here are a few of the ten reasons to terminate an employee on her first day, as described by Ryan.

  • Trying to change terms of employment: Some people seem to think the best way to get want they want is through bait and switch. They’ll promise to take calls every other weekend and seem especially excited about the overtime pay they’ll accrue as a result. Then, on the first day, your new worker announces that she has to coach her daughter’s soccer team and won’t be able to cover weekend calls. Whether she knew about this issue in advance is not your problem. She agreed to the stated terms of employment. You shouldn’t feel guilty about letting her go.
  • Showing his Harvey Weinstein side: If your new hire makes advances on another employee or starts telling offensive jokes in the lunch room on his first day, you have a problem. Despite your careful screening, you may have brought a problem individual into your organization. There’s no better time than the first day to tell the harassing individual that he’s done.
  • Demonstrating a lack of respect: On the first day, both the employee and the existing team members should be on their best behavior. Unfortunately, some new hires may have a different idea about what constitutes acceptable behavior. If she arrives two hours late with no apology or comes back from lunch clearly altered by legal or illegal substances, she will be a problem to manage. Say goodbye, quickly and quietly.

You might be tempted to give a new employee the benefit of the doubt in the examples listed above. If you do, expect some blow-​back from your current team members. And, expect to spend an inordinate amount of time managing the individual. Do yourself and the organization a favor – make a command decision and say – “You’re fired.”