In my book, Fire Well, I talk a lot about working with the poor performing individuals to help them become both fulfilled and successful in their working life – be that with you or elsewhere. However, if you put forward the idea that ‘this job is not right for you’ too early in a conversation then you could be accused of constructive dismissal and things can become sticky, legally speaking.
So how to introduce what you believe to be the real crux of the issue without running the risk of legal action?
The answer is to ensure certain steps are completed before making the ‘this is not right for you’ statement:
- Make it clear that your only objective is for them to become successful and fulfilled in their job role as when they win, you win, the organisation wins and so does the customer.
- Show your belief in them as a talented human being and demonstrate respect for their decisions (even the ones that appear foolish in your eyes) throughout the conversation. Identify and acknowledge all of their strengths, talents and enthusiasms.
- Give them feedback on how they are currently falling short of the job role’s requirements and what needs to be done to improve. Work on the assumption that they want to stay and show that you want them to stay once the improvements are made.
- Then make the statement ‘I am beginning to think this might not be the right job role for you’, followed with the reasons why you believe this to be true. It might be that you see them enthusiastically completing tasks outside of their job role, while displaying a lack of energy for those things that fall within their area of responsibility. Maybe they are bored and ready for something more adventurous that your organisation cannot offer them. Possibly the company has become larger and more structured, leading to their frustration that they no longer involved in every detail.
- Immediately confirm that only they have the choice and authority to make the decision: ‘Of course, the decision as to what to do next is completely yours. As your manager I need to say that these points have to be improved but I would also like you to consider my thoughts about being in the right job role for you. Life is too short not to be’.
Allow some time for reflection and you could just be wishing them every success for the future when they decide to resign and move onto a job at which they will naturally thrive!