Let’s face it. No one likes to fire their employees. Sometimes the people that you need to let go are your friends. Other times, you’re afraid that your remaining employees will stage a coup. In other cases still, it’s simply the fact that you hate, and I mean hate, awkward conversations.
Regardless of the unpleasantness, firing employees is a reality in the life of IT managers. But how do you know when it’s time to fire your technical consultants? While there are no hard-set rules, these 7 signs indicate that it’s probably time to let your IT consultant go.
1. Breaching security
As a technical consultant, you are privileged to a certain amount of high-security information. It is of utmost importance that it remains private and secure. If you are under the impression that one of your technical consultants is breaching security, action needs to be taken. Don’t fire someone on a gut feeling alone though; you need to make sure that you can actually back up your suspicion with evidence. The actual act of breaching security is reason for an automatic dismissal.
2. Feedback is ignored
When a technical consultant starts a new position, there is undoubtedly going to be a learning curve. You’ll have to give feedback, and tell them how to improve in order to meet your company’s specific regulations and standards.
If this feedback is ignored, even after the problem has been addressed several times, action needs to be taken. Your consultant is either unable to, or has no desire to, meet what has been asked of them. Either way, they are unable to adequately perform their job and it does no good to keep someone like that around. It simply adds more work for everyone else.
3. Bad attitude that affects other employees
How do you feel after you’ve been around that friend or family member that is known for their constant negativity? Not too great, huh? That’s the same in the workplace. If one person is constantly negative or in a bad mood, it affects the rest of the team. The office’s morale goes down, which in turn causes the organization to become less productive.
If this negative consultant’s attitude is directly affecting how your other technologists perform, it may be time to let this individual go. This can be tough, especially if they are the best programmer in the office. You have to weigh this against the fact that though they may be the most productive, they are also bringing the team’s net productivity down.
4. Not helping, only hurting the company
Whether it is because they are ignoring feedback or unable to meet deadlines, you have to decide whether or not keeping a technical consultant in their role is beneficial or only detrimental to the organization.
If their mistakes, underperformance, or inability to meet deadlines caused the company to lose out on opportunities, or made more work for the rest of the team, then something needs to change. Sometimes that change has to be letting the detrimental technical consultant go.
5. Other employees have to pick up the slack
Does it seem like your whole team is struggling to get their projects done? Is it reasonable for them to be struggling this much? Did it happen all of a sudden?
If this is the case, talk to your team. Ask them to identify problems within the group. You may find that the team is struggling because one technologist is not pulling their weight. As a result, the rest of the team is doing their own work, in addition to part of their colleague’s, which explains the dropping productivity levels. Keeping a technologist who does not pull their weight causes more damage than an awkward conversation.
6. Unable to perform the skills they put on their resume
In an ideal world, you would have performed a technical interview when hiring your consultant. You would know exactly what they were and were not capable of technically. However, many skip this part of the hiring process, and are unpleasantly surprised down the line. Many find that their technical consultant is unable to perform the duties that were listed on their resume, the ones they were hired to do.
In this case, your technical consultant needs to be let go. Not only did they lie to you, but they also can’t perform their job. There is no reason to keep them on. It won’t reflect well on you if you do, and it will only add more work for the rest of the team.
7. Not showing up for work or on time
This one’s a no brainer, which is why it is the last one of the list. If your technical consultants aren’t showing up, or are showing up late, they need to go. It is obvious that they don’t respect you or your company. They’re wasting your money and taking a job that another, hard-working technical consultant would happily take. Find the later.
The reason that we added this to the list is to remind you to not be taken in by their constant excuses. While your technologist may have gotten stuck in traffic the first couple of times, by now they should have figured out how to leave in a timely manner. It’s easy to take these fabricated excuses, and reason them into your own excuses as to why you haven’t fired them yet. Don’t fall prey to this.
If you come home from work every day, complaining to friends and family about a technical consultant’s work, you need to examine why this is. If they are unable to do their job, pull their weight, or be a team player, the situation needs to be addressed. If the situation does not change after speaking with them, it may be time to dismiss them from their position. Not doing so only brings about a lowered team productivity and a bad management reputation.
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