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Counseling an Employee Out of the Job ... (What if You've Hired the Wrong Person?, part 2)

There are really only two options once you realize you’ve hired the wrong person: see if they can be developed (see part 1 of this article) or counsel the employee out of the job.

Counseling an Employee Out of the Job

The best way to counsel an employee out of the job is to have detailed documentation of their lack of job fit. Most organizations do not have the documentation to properly validate the termination of an employee, which can create poor moral, broken relationships with a union (if that is your environment), or even costly lawsuits. That is why counseling an employee out of the job is the best option.

In the previous article the importance of discussing the employee’s strengths and weaknesses with them was mentioned. This becomes the foundation to modify behavior and/or counsel them out of the job. The ideal would be for the employee to modify their behavior, but this will not happen with every problem employee. In that case, if you can get them to realize the job is not a good fit then many times they will choose to resign or move on.

What’s needed is a very clear evaluation of employee performance against the core competencies of the job. A good, job specific, evaluation will allow you to isolate the problem behavior in a visible way. Typically, the performance evaluations present in many organizations are not used effectively, not used often enough, not job specific, or not dealing with the core competencies of the job. These components are all vital for documenting and stopping poor behavior in the workplace. Core competencies should come from an in depth understanding of the job and what it entails. Typical core competencies could include:

    Determination to see job responsibilities through to completion
    Leading by example
    Effective time management
    Ability to multi-task
    Owning responsibility for actions & decisions
    And many more...

Select Advantage has very thorough job analysis and core competencies for every job classification we have an assessment for. Using these, we have developed Performance Evaluations that document the complete domain of the job. To see a complete list of job classifications, please click on the "Industries" tab above.

Using a thorough Performance Evaluation and documenting job performance regularly will reinforce the good behavior you are looking for, as well as what your organization values (We recommend evaluating on a quarterly basis, especially for those “problem employees”). This approach also communicates the message that if they do not change there will be a difficult conversation coming soon. Ideally, they change their behavior, or in some cases, they see the “writing on the wall” and choose to walk away.

How does not dealing with the wrong person affect the organization?

There is no need to be discouraged, we have helped many organizations and we can help yours too. In most organizations, there are a small group of “outstanding” employees and a small group of “knuckleheads”. In the middle is the larger group that could be called the “influenced”. Some days it may feel like your organization has a very large group of “knuckleheads”. This is the small group influencing those in the middle. The truth is, in most cases it is the dissension of only one or two employees causing the chaos or negativity in the organization. Likewise, the group of “outstanding” employees has the same influence -- if they feel supported from management.

If you allow the “knuckleheads” to continue influencing your organization you are headed for failure. You need to deal with the one or two problem employees by documenting completely their lack of job fit, therefore minimizing their negative voice in the organization.

The most important fact to remember is this: if you do not believe in the employee anymore, then they will never be successful. Are you going to do something to protect the rest of your staff, or are you going to keep doing the same things and expect different results?

Try it for free! Contact Select Advantage today for a complimentary copy of our behavior based, job specific Performance Evaluation. Select Advantage specializes in Assessments, Interview Guides, and Performance Evaluations that are all behavior based and job specific.  Our sound development process, with industry experts, creates tools that are valid, legally defensible, and effective. Be sure to ask about our team building tools as well!  

Click here to request your free copy of our job-specific Performance Evaluations.


PO Box 872245
Vancouver, WA 98687