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Should You Fire or Re-train that Struggling Employee?

Should You Fire or Re-train that Struggling Employee?

Employer Tips / November 11, 2021

No manager wants to fire anyone. What a way to ruin someone’s day, put them out of work, and make them go through a stressful job search. You’d probably rather work with them to overcome their weaknesses and get the training they need. But sometimes that retraining isn’t worth it. Here’s how you know whether you should fire or re-train that struggling employee.


Consider the costs of firing

 Firing might seem like a quick and easy way to eliminate a struggling employee. But it’s not that simple. A vacant position means that you’ll have to pay your other employees overtime and burden them with extra responsibilities, which is never good for morale. Then you’ll have to pay to recruit, hire, and onboard a replacement. That transition period will probably be distracting to your other employees, costing you productivity.


Consider the costs of training

 But retraining costs time and money, too. It might mean online courses, seminars and workshops, or even classes at a community college or vocational school. It will at least mean this particular employee will be busy learning and not producing for a while. If you’re lucky, you can rely on your current employees to train the new one. But that means at least two of your employees will have decreased productivity until everyone’s up to speed.


Firing might be worth it

 Despite the costs of time, money, and morale, there are times when firing is your best option. If you have an employee who’s toxic or who’s done damage to the company, let that person go. Those types of behaviors can destroy your company culture and that’s certainly not worth it. You’ll have more integrity as a leader and your other employees will respect you more if you say goodbye to that person.


An unwilling employee

 If you have an employee who’s not willing to learn new skills or pursue additional training, it’s time to say goodbye. Retraining is only worth it if that struggling employee is invested and committed to growth and improvement. You need someone who acknowledges the gaps in their skills and knowledge and takes responsibility for their professional development.


Evaluate and decide

 So now it’s time to decide whether you should fire or re-train that struggling employee. If they’re willing to pursue training, then you need to weigh the financial and temporal costs of that training against the costs of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding. And there’s no guarantee that, should you choose to fire, your new employee won’t end up having similar issues. You can always teach new skills and knowledge, but you can’t teach attitude and work ethic!


For more tips on deciding whether to fire or re-train that struggling employee and ensuring that you hire the best talent in your industry, check out our website at