The Nine Surprising Outcomes of Every Termination

Nov. 13, 2015
It's never easy to terminate a member of your team. Often, you put it off past the time when you know you should act because you hope the leopard will change his spots. Here are nine surprising outcomes of every termination.

It’s never easy to terminate a member of your team. Often, you put it off past the time when you know you should act because you’re hoping the leopard will change his spots. Rarely does this happen. If a tech moonlights once, for example, as soon as he thinks he can get away with it, he will moonlight again. So you finally pull the painful trigger. Here are nine surprising outcomes of every termination.

1. Few People Will Be Surprised

You may think you are the only person who notices an employee’s problems. You’re not. Everyone notices. As soon as he’s gone, you will begin to hear comments like, “I could see that coming.” “Why did that take so long?”

It’s usually not even a surprise to the employee. Once I had a terminated employee mutter that he was surprised I didn’t fire him a year ago. Here I was trying to “save” this guy’s job and he had long since quit, but was willing to keep showing up as long as I was willing to keep paying him.

2. The Sun Will Shine Tomorrow

A funny thing happens on the morning following a termination. You feel great. In part, this is because something you dreaded is over. It’s also the fact that the dark cloud of the employee’s presence is no longer hanging over you and your company. You wake up and realize that today you do not have to deal with “that guy.”

3. The Employee Will Slander You

If you cannot handle people occasionally saying mean things about you, you should never start a business. Few people say meaner things that disgruntled former employees. Do not get wound up when you hear about it. Do not try to retaliate and explain your side. That implies that there might be something there. Instead, laugh. Just shrug your shoulders or shake your head and move on. People will connect the dots better than you think.

4. The Employee Will Recruit Against You

Hopefully you have everyone sign a rock solid employment agreement preventing them from soliciting business from your customers. If you do not and the employee is unethical and in a position to solicit business, expect him to go after your customers. He may be able to do some damage in the short term, but if your company brand is strong enough the long term impact will be negligible. Nevertheless, customers are too hard to find to relinquish them without a fight. You should do all you can to defend your customer base.

Once they land, former employees also try to recruit others employees. Sometimes this is merely one guy recruiting his buddy. Nevertheless, this should also be resisted. If you think it’s likely, talk with your team. Ask them to let you know if the employee contacts them. You have less at risk than you think. A terminated employee may be able to pick off another disgruntled member of your team who would eventually leave without the assist, but most will treat him like he’s toxic.

5. You Will Have More Time

An employee whose behavior is causing you to think about terminating him is likely a tremendous source of negative energy. He is sucking time out of the business while you think about ways to handle him and talk the situation over with others. With the employee out of the way, all of that unproductive time comes rushing back and you can better focus on building the business and simply, enjoying life.

6. Morale Will Improve

When the terminated employee is removed from your company, morale improves. It improves because you are no longer tolerating unacceptable behavior. Remember, your team is more observant than you think, which is why they were not surprised that the individual was let go. They see what the person is doing and can’t understand why you put up with it. It seems unfair. After you act, fairness again reigns and moral goes up.

Moreover, terminated employees are often drama queens with a sense of entitlement. Outside of Hollywood, drama is bad for business.

7. You Will Find Someone Better

There are 320 million people in the United States. The chances are pretty good that you will find someone as good as or better than the terminated employee as a replacement. Make that as an upgrade. Plus, the new person won’t have all of the baggage.

8. You Will Wish You Acted Earlier

Within a week of terminating someone, your only regret will be that you didn’t act sooner, that you ignored your gut when it first told you it was time to act.

9. People Will Forget The Employee

Within a month, the terminated employee will be a distant memory. No one in your company will think about him or talk about him.

Got a problem? Any problem? Keep calm and log onto the Service Roundtable where contractors find solutions fast. Call 877.262.3341 and let the Service Roundtable Success Team help you find the answers you need.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.