Do You Fix Him or Fire Him?

by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor

MOST managers can pretty much group their employees in three categories.  That 20% or so that are super stars.  They constantly perform beyond expectations.  They are the nuts and bolts and glue that keep your organization performing well.

Opinion Yours CountsThen there is that middle group of about 60%.  They are consistent performers, occasionally going beyond the norm.  But what about that bottom 20%?  They do enough to not be fired, but are sometimes a drag on the company and the moral of their peers.  Within that group there are one or more that are really boarder line.

Many companies have peek seasons.  It may be just before tax time for a CPA firm, or Christmas for a general retail firm.  Perhaps before Mother’s Day or Valentines Day for a gift shop or florist and of course many resorts are seasonal.

So now you are coming up on that peek period.  You will need all hands performing at the top of their game.  But then there is Joe (or Jane) that is at the bottom of the bottom.  Fairly new, has been thru all the orientation and training, but just isn’t quite up to snuff.

Decision time.  Do you continue to try to fix him, or do you fire him?  Do you have the luxury of spending more time and money on him with no real assurance of success?  Would you be better off to run a person short and pay overtime as needed?  Could you find a replacement that could hit the ground running?

Where do you pull the plug?  What tips the scale to fix or fire?  All managers have all been in that situation.  What is your preference?


Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent
KEN is a 46 year veteran hotelier and entrepreneur. Formerly owned two hotels, an advertising agency, a wholesale tour company, a POS company, a leasing company, and a hotel management company. The hotels included chain owned, franchises, and independents. They ranged in type from small luxury inns, to limited service properties, to large convention hotels and resorts. After retiring he authored a book, “So Many Hotels, So Little Time” in which he relates what life is like behind the scenes for a hotel manager. Ken operated more that 100 hotels and resorts in the US and Caribbean and formed eight companies. He is a firm believer that senior management should share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of management.

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  1. Ken, I would have liked a little more direction on the choices to be made with this type of situation?? its a tough call for many business owners/people managers who struggle with the desire to be liked versus the need to make the tough calls……

  2. After the usual coaching sessions, one-on-one meetings and even an “action plan” is given, its time to make a change.

    Too many times we hold on to employees, and managers, that probably should have never been hied in the first place. Hire people that can hit the ground running is the best way…but not always possible.

    Proper hiring, orientation and expectations are key for a new employee to succeed. 30-60 day evaluations are a must. After 60 days make that difficult decision to stay or go.

  3. The answer to this question could be found in Why? is this happening? “But then there is Joe (or Jane) that is at the bottom of the bottom. Fairly new, has been thru all the orientation and training, but just isn’t quite up to snuff.” Is it because the fit is wrong and Joe or Jane needs to find another place where they can shine? Is it because Joe or Jane thinks they have been following what they learned in training and therefore need more coaching from a team member (work buddy)? Before kicking them off the team or out of the organization have an open, ‘here is what is observed’ conversation. Go into it with an everybody wins objective instead of the someone’s gotta lose attitude.