I was recently interviewed by CNN and was asked why small business owners find it so difficult to fire people. I don’t believe this situation is limited to small businesses, as I’ve worked in a number of organizations where ineffective people were able to hide out for years. Some were never discovered and may even be chuckling as they read today’s post. However the piece was on small businesses so I made it a point to specifically address the question on hand. Why do small businesses find it so difficult to fire people?
Here is an excerpt from my response:
- They believe the devil they know is better than the one they don’t know. Therefore, they wait until they can no longer take it before they will fire an employee. Unfortunately, their customers aren’t as patient and many will take their business elsewhere before the small business owner realizes the damage that has been done by their inability to take action.
- Often times the people needing to be fired are family members. Imagine having to come home and tell your spouse you just fired her sister.
- Those in small businesses are required to wear more hats than appear to be humanly possible. The last thing they can think of doing is taking on the added responsibility of the person they will be firing. Top that off with the fact that they will be the ones who have to take on the responsibility for re-staffing and you can see why firing employees is so challenging.
Small business owners would be well advised to live by Donald’s credo. “It’s not personal. It’s business.” Once you make the decision to do so, you’ll see why it makes sense to fire an unproductive employee, regardless of how difficult your life will be for the next few months. In the end, you’ll live much longer and your business will prosper.