Which Employees Are You Firing?

happiness first(1)Chances are it’s the employee with low social and emotional skills. Low emotional intelligence means the employee doesn’t have a buffer between something that upsets them and unprofessional behavior.

Low emotional intelligence means the employee assumes that their interpretation of another’s words or actions is accurate even when it is not.

Individuals with low social and emotional skills can be very talented individual contributors.

Individuals with low social and emotional skills rarely survive a promotion to a supervisory role.

Individuals with low social and emotional skills are more likely to have a downward spiral when something in their life creates more stress than they are used to handling. It doesn’t take much to knock them off balance. When spouse or child becomes ill, if their spouse is fired or laid off, if their child is bullied or their parent needs help with daily activities, if there is a crime in their neighborhood that makes them more fearful, or if their work responsibilities increase can all lead to inappropriate and unprofessional responses. Those responses may be very public in nature.

Employees who witness them are likely to feel a negative impact and feel less comfortable at work.

Social and emotional skills can be learned. In fact, the research is clear that they should be taught in school. I documented that research in my book, Our Children Live in a War Zone.

I’m a member of the Allied Health Regional Skills Partnership with one of our tasks being to identify the skills employers need and want their workers to possess. A repeated theme is that schools are producing technically and clinically trained individuals but they aren’t good employees because they don’t have the social and emotional learning skills required to be a good employee. Technical and/or clinical expertise is inadequate.

Employees have to be able to manage their own emotions and interact professionally with customers, co-workers, bosses, and in some cases, subordinates. If they can’t do that they will fail regardless of the level of technical expertise they may possess.

Depending on the industry, position, location, etc., replacing an employee costs between 1x – 2.5x the annual salary of the employee. Avoiding terminations by increasing social and emotional skills can reduce the cost of turnover significantly. It will also win employee loyalty. The employee who has low social and emotional learning skills suffers every day by living a life that is much harder than it has to be.

Then there is the reverberation an organization feels when an employee is fired. Morale of the remaining employees is often negatively impacted.

At Happiness 1st Institute, we’ve developed ways to teach social and emotional skills to large groups which makes it very affordable to train your entire staff. This creates a more positively focused work environment and common language that reinforces the culture and sense of belonging that employees feel toward the mission. Our methods are research based and highly effective.

What would your workday be like if your staff was more positively focused and supportive of one another? What would you be able to accomplish in that environment?


Jeanine Joy, Ph.D.
Jeanine Joy, Ph.D.
WORLD CHANGER, International Speaker, and Trainer – Dr. Joy stepped up to do everything she could to help humanity thrive more after she discovered that she could help to improve societal problems by empowering people to manage their mindset, develop psychological flexibility, and use their innate emotional guidance. She began studying the genesis of human thriving in 1995 and as her knowledge grew she became a thought leader and educator. The evidence-based techniques she teaches and writes about create improvements in physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Her approach has a direct, positive effect on crime, violence, relationships, racism, educational outcomes, suicide prevention, employee engagement, happiness, career success, and more. She focuses on solutions that are both affordable and scalable because she wants to help everyone have a greater opportunity to achieve their dreams and goals. As the owner of Happiness 1st Institute, a Thrive More Now Company, Jeanine speaks internationally and provides training to organizations through her empowering, practical, and usable techniques that target the root causes of human thriving. She is recognized as a bridge builder who creates bridges by translating jargon-laden research into usable information with practical examples that help individuals fulfill more of their potential.

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  1. Many researchers talk about “self-serving bias”, that is when things go well it is about themselves, when they go wrong, it’s basically someone else’s fault. The problem arises when in addition to blaming a certain circumstance, people are blamed. And this has a serious effect on relationships, family and career. We tend to blame others because it’s easier because we feel less responsible. You protect your ego. But this behavior can have long-term consequences on one’s life and personality. And spending time on attributing our shortcomings to others or to situations does not help on the path of personal growth. If it’s always all the fault of others, then it means that you do not have control of the situation, the power to change something. We are perceived as narcissistic people and with little empathy, we have difficulty in aspiring to healthy and sincere relationships, we do not inspire trust. In a company, in particular, if the employer tends to discharge the guilt of a bad job on his collaborators, these could but do the same thing with the other colleagues. In conclusion, attributing the fault to others is not what makes a person strong and successful, but that, indeed, puts it in front of its own limit. If we recognize ourself in a person who tends to discharge our own faults, perhaps the time has come to work on ourself and our self-esteem.

  2. Excellent points. But many have this mentality that when there is a problem, it is a certain person’s fault. When this person gets blamed enough, especially when they are not of fault — that person leaves. Management intervention is the one of, if not the key reason for employee churn.

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