Two signs it’s time to let an employee go


By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Fairly often in the course of working with clients we’re in parallel asked to evaluate members of their sales & marketing team.  This can be anyone from the VP of Sales to a junior marketing team member, with an expected variety of variables and criteria at play.

Evaluating measurable results is black and white, but deciding whether or not to let someone go often gets more gray than that.  A good friend recently shared his criteria for knowing when it’s time to move on from someone, even if they’ve been with you for a while.

Jordan Ritter is a successful start-up veteran currently running Ivy Softworks in Seattle.  His focus is on an employee’s reaction to feedback.  In his words:

More specifically: It’s time to part ways when either (1) someone can’t hear critical feedback, or (2) they can’t act upon it (can’t change, evolve, grow, adapt).

For this to work, leadership must carry an extra burden around consistently managing via expectations, and articulating feedback clearly and constructively.  

But the payoff is that people will always know where they stand.  Even when the news is “bad”, it still builds trust because what they hear from you jibes with what they feel, even if they can’t admit it to themselves.  This way they have an honest shot at improvement and growth, and the parting-ways conversation won’t ever be a surprise when expectations are regularly unmet.

This combines ability with intent in an elegant way.  Worth thinking about and leveraging as you evaluate staff at year-end and relative to your 2016 plans & objectives.