Telltale Signs of When to Hire and Fire Employees


While a business owner has many challenges each day, the toughest might be deciding when to hire and when to fire employees. Here are telltale signs of when to hire and fire employees:

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If you hire the wrong person, your company will lose money until you fire them. If you fire for the wrong reason, you’ve ruined someone’s career and now have to go through the hassle of finding a replacement.

Noticing When It’s Time for a Change

When doctor’s make a diagnosis, they usually have to identify what symptoms the patient has. The same approach can be used when deciding when to hire and when to fire. So what signs should you look for when hiring or firing?

10 Signs it’s Time to Hire

As a business grows, it becomes harder to keep up with the work. Still, despite this rather obvious sign, a business owner may need a few signs to admit that it’s necessary to divide revenue and responsibilities with a few more people.

Here are 10 signs you need to hire someone:

  1. When people are staying longer at work to finish up their jobs because if they don’t clear their projects today, they will start falling behind tomorrow.
  2. When the rate of business growth slows down because overall productivity has dropped and almost everything appears to be increasingly inefficient.
  3. When new opportunities show up but everyone is reluctant to assume responsibility for seizing it.
  4. When fatigue and overwhelm become the rule rather than the exception.
  5. When the company starts losing money because of an increasing number of unnecessary workplace mistakes that are beginning to undermine the corporate culture. These are often symptoms of stress and overwhelm.
  6. When the emphasis has switched from innovation to maintenance.
  7. When people are taking on work they have no idea how to do. Since they don’t know what to do, they turn in poor quality work.
  8. When the top people in an organization are doing grunt work because there is no one else to do it. Meanwhile, their high-value, profit-producing work does not get done at all.
  9. When the boss is trying to do everything himself. As a result, the ship has no captain, just another deck hand.
  10. When it has become difficult to evaluate employee progress because there is not enough time to pay attention to the big picture.

If more than half of these 10 signs can be seen, it shows an urgent need to hire more people. Unfortunately, the hiring process may take too long to save the business. When things get too critical, it’s important to fix the problem quickly.

One solution is to use a recruitment company who has already vetted the right candidates or else go for newer and more digital job hiring methods like using or LinkedIn Jobs. 

Recommended reading: How to Motivate Staff Through Employee Training

10 Signs It's Time to Fire

Firing employees is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary to restore the company culture or save the company from hemorrhaging money.

Here are 10 signs when it’s time to let someone go.

  1. The employee shows obvious signs of workplace dissatisfaction. He or she, for example, remains persistently negative and apathetic. He or she doesn’t do much work and appears to discourage others without even saying a word. Just their attitude is contagious.
  2. The employee often disappears from their desks. They might show up late to take on assignments, take longer breaks, drag out field assignments, or leave work early.
  3. The employee likes to argue and become disagreeable for reasons that don’t make much sense. It’s possible that someone argues because they envision a better way a task can be done, but arguing for no clear reason indicates a lot of suppressed agitation and aggression.
  4. The employee’s productivity is at an all-time low. They appear to be much slower at doing tasks that they previously performed quickly and well. They only pretend to be busy when a supervisor is in sight.
  5. The employee has begun to gossip about colleagues and complain about management policies.
  6. The employee appears to be working on getting another job. They are gradually moving their personal effects out of their cubicle and spend a lot of time on non-work related phone calls. They also call in sick more frequently than usual.
  7. The employee has been overheard mocking the way the company runs its business.
  8. The employee appears to be baiting management to fire him or her by making unreasonable demands.
  9. The employee has not been able to keep pace with the knowledge and skills required to do his or her job properly. He or she is rapidly becoming redundant.
  10. The employee does not do the work asked, but has numerous excuses why it was not done.

Tough Decisions to Make

It’s never easy to figure out when to hire or fire because both ends of the spectrum have manifold consequences. However, it’s difficult to create a positive work culture when people are either overwhelmed or dissatisfied and it’s important to figure out the underlying reason for their behavior before taking action.

I hope this list of signs for both scenarios will help you when deciding to either hire or fire.

Over to you now. What's your experience of hiring and/or firing? Share any thoughts in the comments below. 

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