If you see these warning signs, address them quickly - sometimes a little communication and redirection can turn things around for a struggling individual. Seek to understand what has caused the change. Ask (without being intrusive) whether there's a personal issue and offer resources (some companies offer employee assistance programs or other support options). In short, do everything you can to let your team member know the following 3 things:
Communicate these guidelines clearly and then schedule a series of follow up meetings where you and the individual will check in to measure progress, discuss challenges, etc. Don't forget to allow this to be a two way conversation. If the team member's performance is dropping because they no longer feel challenged, want a different growth path, or don't see how their current position is meeting their goals, you have an opportunity to work with them and with the organization as a whole to develop that path. This is also a time to engage HR and your manager and let them know that you have an employee who is on a development plan. It's also important to document the process - what goals you put in place, what actions the employee is being asked to take, and what the results of those actions are. From here there are three possible outcomes.
Option 1 is great, option 2 means you will have to re-hire but is not a terrible outcome, and option 3 requires that you move on to the ultimate step - termination. As a guideline it should take 30-90 days from the time you communicate the goals and changes that are necessary to the time you can make a final decision that your team member has not made the changes you needed them to make. If you are meeting with them weekly, that's 4-12 opportunities where you have reviewed their work, given them clear direction, and outlined their path to success. It should be evident to both of you at that point that things are not as they should be.
The final step in the process is to notify HR and your manager that you are planning to terminate the individual, and to complete any paperwork or processes that are required. At that point you are ready for the toughest conversation a manager can have - telling someone that it's not working out and they need to seek their employment elsewhere. Here are some tips on making the conversation go smoothly and professionally.
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