As an employer, or manager, you already have your hands full trying to keep employees engaged and motivated. Inevitably you will also have the task of firing employees. No matter the reason -- they're not right for the job, they're unethical, or you don't have the money to pay their salary -- there will come a time when you have to deliver the bad news. It is always an unpleasant experience.
Related: "You're Fired!"
Being on the opposite end of the spectrum isn't that great either. I've been in this situation a few times in my life. I've seen several signs myself and in some employees I've had to fire, as well. Here are 11 strong signs that you're about to be canned.
1. You're on a "need to know" basis. Keeping employees and team members informed is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and boost their spirits. So what would happen if you suddenly kept them out of the loop?
No matter the situation, like a change in direction for the business or different job responsibilities, if you're always informed way after the decision has been made, this is not a good sign.
2. Assigned unimportant tasks. Employees want to be and recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. Instead of rewarding them for a job well done by assigning them a high-profile project, you demand that they do something less important. Imagine a project leader who has been relegated to making copies for meetings. That's just demeaning, and a sign of a bad leader, but also a strong indicator that you're becoming less and less needed at the company.
3. Getting feedback only once a year. No matter what the job, regular feedback is necessary. If not, how can an employee know if they are underperforming or annoying their co-workers? They probably won't, which means that they won't have a chance to correct their behavior. If you let this pile-up for a year, you can bet that a lot of animosity will build-up.
Even worse, what if that employee finds out from a co-worker that their work is substandard or that people are upset that they don't clean the kitchen properly after lunch? If you're never getting feedback, you may about to be fired.
4. Sudden exclusion. It's not a good idea for you and your employee to become best friends and hit the town every night. However, that doesn't mean that you have to be impersonal. But that's a solid way to make an employee feel left out. If you're no longer asked how your weekend was or your boss starts bailing on the monthly lunch or conference call, warning sign.
5. Change responsibilities. Every employee has responsibilities at work, obviously. But, what would happen if some of your responsibilities are taken away? If an employee prepared weekly reports and one week realizes that the boss has assigned someone else to that task, how would they react? Not good.
6. Having you train your replacement. It's no big deal for an employee to train a new hire. But, it's another thing to have that trainee take over the responsibilities of their trainer. This option is a bit passive aggressive. I've seen several employers in the past make employees train their replacement. If you're seeing this at your job, start finding your next replacement job.
7. Delaying on promises. One reason that employees stay with a job is that there's potential for a raise or promotion. So how do you think an employee will feel if you delay on that promise? The longer you wait for that promised raise or promotion, the more you will get frustrated until, eventually, you need to walk away.
8. Make it all about them. Great leaders will listen to suggestions and implement them if they're good enough. So how aggravating would it be for an employee to keep asking questions or have amazing ideas that don't get recognized? When you are constantly ignored by your employer, it gives you the impression that they're only in the business for themselves. This typically means you won't last long there.
9. No fun at the workplace. A job isn't a place to play but, that doesn't mean that the workplace can't be fun sometimes. Whether that's something like bringing dogs to work or having time to play basketball, these activities boost productivity and morale. If you have a workplace that isn't a healthy workplace, and all your boss does is threaten or demand too much, employees will begin to look for different employment where they can enjoy themselves.
10. Enforcing dumb rules at work. While there obviously have to be rules in place to guide employees, stupid rules ruin morale. In fact, there's a book (Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules For Smart Results) written about how to get around the rules that frustrate employees. If you see extraordinary rules being enforced around the office despite hurting productivity, this is a strong sign that something is not right in your office or a lot of people are about to be laid off.
11. Email group about layoffs. This is meant to work on a mass scale, but many companies use this method to have employees quit and find other jobs so they don't have to pay unemployment and other pay. Although I don't like this method, I've seen it many times. Run for the hills.
Though I never want anyone to get fired, these are some good warning signs that you will no longer be needed at your current employer. Don't take it personal, it will happen to almost every person out there. See the warning signs early so you can prepare to get your next job or start your next adventure!