3 Signs It’s Time to Fire an Employee

Sometimes it’s easy to tell when it’s time to let someone go. When an employee is consistently late, refuses to deliver on their promises, or establishes a pattern of blatant toxicity, it’s obvious that you should send them packing. Unfortunately, sometimes the worst employees in your organization are the ones coasting by behind the scenes, covering up their mistakes and undermining your workplace culture without you realizing it. Here are three less obvious tendencies of bad employees.

They’re eager to throw their coworkers under the bus.

In business, errors are bound to be made — sometimes even catastrophic ones. But when your employee immediately rushes to point the finger at another individual — even one who is partly culpable — it’s a red flag.

Any employee who genuinely enjoys working in your organization will form connections to their coworkers. If they’re quick to throw others under the bus instead of taking some responsibility, it shows that they do not value trust or community — or they simply care more about their own well-being than the well-being of the company. While it’s not ideal for an employee to take responsibility for an error that truly wasn’t their fault, acknowledging that they may have had a hand in the error — whether it was miscommunication or mismanagement — shows a level of self-awareness and strength that can go a long way in business.

This is especially true in your management team. It’s easy for a manager to point out an underperforming team member and say they’re messing up, but in reality, it’s their responsibility to keep everyone on track. If someone is throwing around blame after a mistake has already been made, it might be worth asking why the mistake was able to occur in the first place. Playing the blame game in management will result in disgruntled employees and create a rift in company culture.

They never stop gossiping.

Nothing damages workplace culture like unsubstantiated rumors. Your employees may complain from time to time about one another as a means to blow off steam, but you need to start recognizing when it becomes an insidious pattern. When someone is continuously talking about others, it shows a lack of character and an unwillingness to work out problems on their own. Face-to-face communication is always better, and those who shy away from honest communication and resort to talking smack weaken your entire workforce.

They don’t value the rest of the team.

If there’s one thing you should never tolerate in your office, it’s an unchecked ego. The best way to ensure success in your business is to hire folks who are not only intelligent and competent but who also play well with others and lift one another up. Teamwork is paramount at every stage, regardless of the business you’re in.

Just because someone is a top performer doesn’t mean they got there alone. If they can’t recognize that and give credit where it’s due, it’s likely that those they’ve unwittingly leaned on, gossiped to, or complained about are getting fed up. At a certain point, it doesn’t matter how great an employee seems to be; if a substantial chunk of their team dislikes them, it’s time to start asking some hard questions.

Don’t let your own opinion of a high-performing colleague cloud your perception of their personal faults. Sometimes, they may seem to benefit the bottom line, but they bring everyone else down in the process. Make no mistake: These folks are not worth keeping around.