Why You May Need To Terminate Your Best Employee

Why would anyone terminate their best employee?

Consider the absolute fact that the only thing constant in life is change.  Our lives change and so does our business world. It is very possible that what used to work so well may not be working now for us as it relates to our employees.

As managers and business owners we revel in the good times and we think that when we are successful, we and our best employees must be doing something right and so we forgo periodic and objective evaluations.

Therein lies the danger.

Business success often leads to complacency with the people we manage especially if we see them as our “best employees.”.  We cut our best employees some slack, it’s very common. However, complacency can lead to not holding our best employees accountable to the same or higher standards than when we hired them in the first place.

I know this first hand because it has happened to me twice.  In one instance I held on to an employee for many years believing that this person was playing a major role in the success of my business.  I believed this person to be my best employee. I later discovered that my business success was happening in spite of this individual’s contribution. My fondness for my best employee got in the way of my business judgment.

After “my best employee” resigned for greener pastures, I found out all of the things that maybe I didn’t want to see about this person’s performance and integrity.  Again, my fondness for this person dulled my objectivity.

Months later, I uncovered a mess that I had no idea was going on and it took me a long time to clean up the damage from my best employee.

I must have had blinders on.

I discovered how much this employee had really cost my company beyond salary, perks and benefits.  In hindsight my “opportunity costs” were the most damaging.  Apparently I was too close to the trees and couldn’t clearly see the forest.

When was the last time you objectively looked at your own forest?

Do you have a “best employee”?  If so, how objective are you about this person’s performance and are you still holding this person as accountable as when this person was hired?

When was the last time you “smelled the cheese” to paraphrase Spencer Johnson, MD in his book “Who Moved My Cheese?”

To be candid, most managers and business owners keep a close check on who they consider to be their best employees, but “checking numbers” is never a bad idea.

Number’s do not lie.

An objective evaluation every now and then (especially during strong business cycles) can be quite validating if you consider someone to be your best employee.  Maybe they really and truly are your best employee(s).

If not than consider taking off your own blinders and think about the concept of addition by subtraction.

Maybe it’s time to terminate your best employee.

I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at ceo@premiersearch.com.  I welcome your phone call or emails.