One business management adage is that you should always be extremely careful about who works in your business. After all, (from the marketing perspective) the company’s employees are the first-line customer service contacts; both for the actual services, and the underlying relationships. Problems here can destroy good-will and threaten the business survival.
Yet hiring, human resources, and dismissal systems run smack into the reality that we are dealing with individuals, not machines. Human emotions should never be under-estimated. Some “good people” are bad workers. Some annoying and irritating individuals know their stuff well and have skills which are hard to replace.
Almost always, however, a dispassionate third set of eyes (someone who has a general understanding of business but is not part of the organization) can see where things are wrong pretty quickly. I certainly recall this from an early business experience at the late Walt Hailey‘s “Boot Camp” in Hunt, TX. One of the guests described problems with an inept employee but he seemed unable to face the simple fact that the employee had to go. The guy seemed like a wimp to me. Here, he was paying thousands of dollars to attend the business management seminar, but couldn’t see the obvious problem right under his nose (in fact, it may indeed primarily have been within his own mind.)
We always need to temper the advice here with an understanding of local rules and laws. Angry dismissed former employees can wreck havoc in some areas if they elect to file human rights, discrimination or wrongful dismissal cases. They don’t need to spend much if any cash on lawyers (they can act for themselves, after all, they have plenty of free time on their hands) and drag your business through the mud. In one case, for example, someone close to me said something intemperate leading to the departure of an independent contractor. Suddenly, this individual became (in her eyes) an employee who happened to be pregnant — and she hired a lawyer ready to bring out the big guns. I tactfully negotiated a settlement, got her to agree to it in a one-line email, and only then got my lawyer to draw up the paperwork. (Her lawyer initially denied that we had reached a settlement but indeed I had covered my rear with that one -line email, but the process still cost us several thousand dollars.)
As a rule, you are best served with some consistent principles; solid evaluation and review processes for new hires, and respectful and effective review standards for current staff. You don’t need to create a paperwork bureaucracy, but you still need to draw the line in the sand when performance falls below your targets. Respect is vital. You can be firm in establishing your limits without being an offensive and emotional basket case, however.