Any new manager may find himself or herself in this new and unpleasant situation. Sometimes unfortunately it is necessary to start thinking about the company and the team and not about each individual in particular no matter how great your relationship with each of them is. Remember that it's not fair for the team to do the work of someone unproductive (you may start losing the good ones at some point) and also remember that you may end up explaining to your managers your team's poor results. How does this sound?
If you decide that someone in your team is not performing as expected, do the following:
1. Discuss the matter directly with the person in a 1 to 1 meeting; allow them to explain as the situation may be caused by an isolated family matter or personal matter that makes them not perform for a limited period of time. Also, allow them to explain if they feel not motivated, if they would like a different job, tasks, if they feel they don't have enough opportunities to develop themselves. Don't jump to conclusions. Find out all you can about the employee's history. If they were performing well at some point, maybe something happened. Find out what and don't start firing people just like that;
2. If you are a new manager ask for advice from your own manager or from other fellow managers. They may have some tips and tricks about motivating people, about communicating with the individuals in the team, some pieces of advice from their previous experience. If you are lucky, one of them may even agree to evaluate your own employee and give you a second opinion. Maybe you are young and eager to impress and you push the team too hard;
3. If the employee doesn't have any personal matters and they are just not willing to perform, meet with them and tell them straight that you are not satisfied and that if they don't change, they will receive a termination notice. Try to prepare an Improvement Plan with clear deadlines and consequences for the employee not to have any surprises; do everything in writing and ask the employee to sign; ask HR for advice;
4. During the Improvement Plan implementation meet periodically to receive and offer feedback. If the employee is really willing to improve and keep their job, they will collaborate and ask for advice. Don't give more than 3 months to extend the illness unnecessarily. 3 months should be enough to see if the employee is willing to work with you and the team or not.
5. If in the end the final decision is to fire the individual, then before taking any action prepare your plan in detail. Think about the following - order of steps, timing and what you plan to say:
-communicate to the employee - the most difficult step; think if you plan to give them notice or you want them gone the next day; ask for advice from HR concerning labor law and potential restrictions, risks and problems that may occur; think what to tell them concerning reason, think what tasks they are still allowed to perform during the notice period, remove any materials/information they may use in a negative manner, talk to other managers that have been in your shoes before;
- communicate to the team; be straight, give real details and reasons - they may already suspect something and some ugly lies can generate unnecessary rumors;
- post the recruitment ad - internally or externally;
- think if the two people should meet or if you can pass the knowledge to the new joiner yourself;
This is it and good luck.
I want to become a manager
But also...do we really need managers?