If you have excellent employees, you will also have poor performing ones. And when these poor performers stay, they can cause serious problems for your organization.  However, you can’t just casually fire and layoff underperforming employees. And usually, you will have different types of interventions you can do to help them with their performance. So, when can you say that it’s time to let go of your poor performers?


When is it time to let go of your poor performers?

It’s your last resort

Firing someone is one of the most difficult things that leaders can do. And it takes a lot of compassion and strength. You have to consider that when you fire someone, you are possibly removing their sole source of livelihood. So, it’s only time to let go of your poor performers if it’s your last resort.

If you still don’t see any improvement in their performance despite the various interventions that you did—for example, you’ve already exhausted your development tactics for chronic underperformers—then that’s when you can plan for their termination.


It’s better for them in the long run

There are many reasons why an employee performs poorly. And poor job fit is one of these reasons. If this is the case, letting them go can be better for them in the long run.

In this scenario, when you let go of poor performers, you actually direct them into a job which is a better fit for them. Remember that job match is the key to hiring success. Talents with good job fit perform better. They are also engaged and even stay with your organization. On the other hand, poor job fit will result in low productivity and weak morale.


They’re unhappy

One of the reasons why someone can be performing poorly in their job is because they don’t like their role. And this is not too uncommon. In fact, in job portal Jobstreet.com’s 2017 Happiness Index Report, they found out that 73% of Filipino employees are not happy in the workplace.

Sometimes, even if your employee isn’t happy with their current position, they are not fully capable of deciding on their own whether to leave and look for better opportunities. Letting them go is a way to push them in the right direction—to a role that they’re going to be happy in.

Culture also plays a role in this. A person who doesn’t feel that they belong and included in your organization will most likely be unhappy with you which can affect their performance. This is why you should also make joy at work one of your priorities.


You’ve planned it properly

While letting go of your poor performers is your last resort, that doesn’t mean that you can just yell “You’re fired!” like in movies and dramas and that’s the end. You have to plan it properly. This is after you’ve considered all your options and see termination as the only solution left.

Take note that there are laws in place regarding termination. You can only terminate an employee if you have a just cause and authorized reasons to do so. Article 282 of the Labor Code of the Philippines even specifically states these causes.

Despite your employee performing poorly, you still have to show your utmost respect to them and make sure that they go the proper procedures according to your company policy and the law.


Firing an employee can be one of the hardest decisions you can make as a leader. However, you also have to consider that letting them stay and continue to perform poorly can represent real costs for your business. And as a leader, knowing how and when to say goodbye also expresses how much you value your team, your mission, and even your poor performer.