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To Fire, Or to Retrain: That is the Question

There comes the point in some employer-employee relationships at which managers reach a crossroads. When an employee’s job performance dips below expectations and stays at that level for any length of time, managers are faced with a choice – address that employee’s shortcomings with the goal of increasing their performance, or terminate their employment. Given that it’s often costlier to find new talent than retrain current employees, it becomes critical for a manager to use sound judgment in making the call.

The Case for Retraining

As we said, recruiting new talent is costly. Advertising, onboarding, and training are all expensive. But before you even get to those costs, you need to consider the costs of terminating an employee. There may be costs associated with meeting COBRA requirements, including extending insurance coverage for terminated employees (if you have more than 20 employees) and paying out separation benefits such as a severance or accrued time off.

But there are broader, sometimes intangible costs at play, too. For example, lowered production while you’re short-staffed, decreased morale as remaining workers struggle to maintain production, and job knowledge loss all impact a company’s bottom line.

The Case for Firing

Sometimes, however, the writing is on the wall. offers several scenarios in which it might be time to cut your losses with a certain employee.

They’re damaging morale. Have you heard the joke that some people brighten a room by leaving it? It’s a sad truth that certain employees have the same effect. If everything flows more smoothly when an employee is away from the office, it may be a red flag that’s too hard to ignore.

They’re killing productivity. If deadlines continue to be missed or project goals are left unfulfilled, and the same culprit keeps popping up, it may be time to let them go.

They’re a living safety hazard. If the same employee keeps violating company policies or – even more egregious – safety protocols, then retraining may not be an option. Instead, you have to act swiftly and permanently to avoid disaster.

The Bottom Line

The choice to fire or retrain an employee may come down to one factor: the ability of the employee in question to take responsibility. If they recognize they are causing problems and genuinely want to help the company succeed, you may be able to start a course correction that, with continued accountability and performance improvement measures in place, may lead to their not only righting the ship, but becoming more valuable of an employee than you thought possible.

If on the other hand, you have an employee who won’t own their past mistakes or who projects blame on others, it may be less costly in the long run to let them go.

Do You Need Help With Temporary Hiring?

Whatever you decide, keep your company’s vision and goals in mind. And to strengthen your business with talent that can help you meet your corporate goals, contact Mega Force. We provide quality staffing for businesses in Fayetteville and throughout the Carolinas. Visit our website today.


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