Does time on the job give a free pass for poor job performance?

I recently had a friend ask my opinion on a situation that he was having at the office; he had an employee who has worked for him for many years and for whatever reason over the last year this employees job performance started to significantly go downhill; where he was once an excellent employee he was now less than a mediocre employee, and my friend wasn’t sure what to do.  I said to him you shouldn’t be stuck on the fact that this employee has been with you for a long time; let me ask you if this employee had only worked for you for a few months what would you do in this situation? He said the normal policy was the employee would be officially warned that their performance was not up to par, if after a couple of weeks their performance did not improve they would be put on probation for up to 90 days and if the situation was still not corrected then that employee would be terminated either during or after the probationary period. I said to him you just answered your own question; only performance should matter, for whatever reason people seem to be stuck on just because an employee works for you for nine or ten years or whatever the case is that this gives them a free pass on performance issues.  I think the opposite should be true because they have been employed for such a long time they know better than anybody what’s expected of them and like anyone else if they can’t do the job and are not living up to expectations than they get terminated just like anyone else.


As business owners and business management we have a responsibility to run our business effectively and we can’t let a bad employee jeopardize our business regardless of how long they’ve been with us. As far as I’m concerned they are either doing the job that they are paid to do, or they are not doing the job they are paid to do, and if they’re not, then they need to be terminated. This may seem a bit cold to some people but again like I said if you’re running a business you have a responsibility to the business and those involved in the business, you have to answer to investors, partners, other employees, and most importantly you have to answer to your customers and by having bad employees this is going to affect profits, and it’s going to affect other employees tremendously because bad behavior by one employee is going to spread exponentially because other employees are going to start to think that this is something that they can also get away with so you can’t let that happen, you cannot let this get out of control, you need to nip it in the bud immediately. You need to get that employee back to where he or she belongs or you need to cut the line and let them go, it’s as simple as that. You need to look after your business, and how long someone’s been on the job should not make a difference when you have to make those tough decisions.

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