5 Signs It’s Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee


The moment you realize you need to let an employee go is kind of like a punch in the stomach. Or if you’ve known it needed to happen for a long time, it can feel like an aching pain you’ve been trying to ignore. Because terminating employees is difficult, no matter how poorly an individual is performing, taking that step can feel daunting.

You worked long and hard to recruit that person and onboard them, and now you realized you made a mistake but if you let them go; you will have to start from the beginning again. The dread of starting over or of sharing the awkward news can make even the most experienced managers get queasy.

Many practice owners are so uncomfortable with firing an employee that they’ll let a low performer work for them far longer than they should. That’s why it’s so important to know some of the signs that will alert you it’s time to start looking for a replacement. If you are proactive when you see the signs,  you will approach the situation objectively rather than getting distracted by emotions.


Here are five signs that will tell you it’s time to say goodbye to an employee


1. They create more work for you

The whole point of hiring other people is to save you time and money. If one of your team members is always slacking or is pushing more on to your plate – whether intentionally or unintentionally – it’s probably time to let them go.

The best employees understand it’s their job to lessen your workload so you can focus on high-level projects and new creative initiatives. If you’re not working less after hiring a new team member, it’s time to let them go.


2. You repeat yourself over and over about the same issue

If you’ve given a team member the same feedback 3+ times and nothing has changed, they’re not right for your practice. A new employee could come in knowing nothing but with a huge ability and willingness to learn, they could do incredibly well. On the other hand, someone who won’t or can’t take feedback and apply it won’t be able to grow with you. Let them go!


3. You’re complaining about them at the dinner table

If you’ve vented (without using their name, of course) about an employee at the dinner table with your family and/or close friends 3+ times, it’s time to let them go. Once they start affecting you so much that you’re discussing them after hours, it’s time to say goodbye.


4. You’ve received more than 3 patient complaints about this employee

When you have a team member on board who’s got a bad attitude or who is underperforming, it impacts your patient’s experience in the practice. It also impacts other employees and hurts the overall office culture.

If you get complaints about this employee from patients or even from other employees, it’s a good idea to take these complaints seriously. If you receive more than three complaints from either group, then it’s time to let that employee go. 


5. Their motto is give me, give me

If someone is constantly boasting, taking all the credit, or demanding to get promoted and earn more money, that’s a big red flag. If they are relatively new to the practice, it’s a bigger red flag. Top performers in your practice should voice their needs and desire to earn more, but they should do so in a respectful way.

If an employee is giving you an ultimatum or threatening to leave your practice unless you pay them more, it’s time to say goodbye. You can always find someone else better and more respectful.  You deserve to be treated with respect, anything less is unacceptable.


Do you have trouble letting employees go? Which part feels the most difficult? Share your thoughts with us below.  We can all learn from one another.



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