Don’t Fire Struggling Employees, Retrain Them!

As a hiring manager or HR professional, the act of firing an employee might seem like a quick and easy way to eliminate an ineffective performer and start fresh with someone new.

But is that always the best option?

Despite the costs of time, money, and morale, there are instances when firing is your best option. For example, if you have an employee who’s toxic, done something dishonest, or is not a fit with the corporate culture.

The Problem with Firing

There’s no way around it – firing a problem worker can be expensive – in both time, money, and emotional capital. For a hiring manager or HR professional, it means embarking on the hiring process again, and there’s no guarantee that the replacement will be the right person for the job either. For the manager or supervisor, it means starting the training process over from scratch.

Lastly, the remaining team may feel their positions are uncertain or even resent management for terminating a struggling employee they liked working with or felt was treated unfairly. They may also feel resentful for having to pick up the slack by putting in overtime or taking over added projects.

The Benefits of Retraining

As an employer, it’s important to work with the employee to give them every opportunity to succeed. This includes coaching and engaging with them at a deeper level and more frequently. If you haven’t done everything you can to help a struggling employee succeed, it’s unfair to fire them.

Retraining a problem employee can offer real benefits. Despite the fact that you’ll have to invest some time upfront, you can save on costs related to overtime and hiring. As an HR manager, you’ll save the days or weeks it takes to start a new search, interview job candidates, etc. As a hiring manager, you won’t need to take the time to sift through resumes and participate in the interview process.

Additionally, opting to train workers can help with potential long-term turnover. Remember, employees who are constantly forced to pick up the slack for fired colleagues may get frustrated and leave the company for a competitor.

What About Re-assigning?

Sometimes retraining isn’t the only solution.

If the employee is open to staying with the company and wants to succeed, you can re-assign them into roles where they’re likely to have a better opportunity for success. Sometimes an otherwise hardworking and dedicated worker is simply in the wrong position. If given the opportunity, these people might do well in other roles that better suit their skills. And it sets a positive vibe within your team when they see you’ll try to do what it takes to help your employees succeed.


Letting an employee go may sometimes seem like the best-case scenario, but you should never be clinical or casual about firing a person. And you should do everything in your power to keep from having to do so, including retraining or re-assigning.  If you fire people without making an effort to help them, you’re sending a message to the rest of the team that you’re either a poor manager or only care about the bottom line.

Lanmark Staffing provides over 40 years of combined human resources, recruiting, temporary placement, sales and management, and temp-to-hire services. Our team of local, experienced professionals can help you meet your hiring needs quickly and efficiently.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *