Published August 1, 1998

When to Fire an Employee: Terminating Employees Checklist

Answer "true" or "false" to these questions about your employee. If you answer "true" to many of these questions, you should think about how much or how little this employee is doing for your business.
  • Constantly sidesteps problems that consistently happen.
  • Blames others (including yourself) when things go wrong.
  • Allows criticism of the company to go unchallenged
  • Doesn't worry about when he/she is consistently late for work or meetings.
  • Postpone completion of projects as long as possible.
  • Avoids seeking clarification of misunderstands so he/she can criticize later.
  • Never volunteers for an assignment when not absolutely certain of success.
  • Does not worry about deadlines.
  • Maintains same sources of information and bases decisions on opinions rather than facts.
  • Tries to be as worry free as possible.
  • Transfers or releases good people who disagree with him or her.
  • Sees delegating as a way of getting rid of unpleasant chores.
  • Keeps busy on current projects and is uncomfortable about future planning.
  • Allows someone else to do his or her recruiting and selection.
  • Tends to criticize others in public rather than in private.
  • Is insulated from contact with subordinates.
  • Frequently tries to let you know how much you depend on him/her everyday.
  • Is not concerned about promotable people if they might take his or her place.
  • Is uncomfortable when he or she must depend on subordinates to provide answers.
  • Concentrates efforts on preferred tasks rather than on those he or she likes to do least.
  • Compliments you frequently, even when a reason must be created.
  • Downplays the competence of other people.
  • Takes as few risks as possible.
  • Waits as long as possible before delivering bad news.
  • Limits efforts to "on-the-job" hours; rarely takes work home.
  • Resists signing up for self-improvement programs not paid for by the company.
  • Joins in conversations about the "good old days" as often as possible.
  • Talks a lot about how difficult it is to measure his or her job.
  • Hides talented people to further his or her own career.

These items are not meant to be determining factors in releasing an employee. Rather, they are listed as items to consider in determining the value or contribution of the employee to your organization.