How to Terminate a Well-Liked Employee

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

Great presentation this past week. Your panel referenced something that is troubling my partners and I. How do we make an announcement when someone exits the firm and it isn’t a mutually agreeable decision? We have someone we have been carrying for quite some time and we need to ask him to leave. My partner doesn’t want to do this around the holidays. I’m fine with this, but at the start of the year we need to move on it.

We have a close team and even though this person hasn’t been carrying their weight from a new business and client servicing standpoint, he is a gregarious and friendly guy so he is well liked. With clients, our ops team ends up covering for him. He’ll forget to do something, won’t follow up or will go missing for several hours a day. Rather than get perturbed about it, my ops team wants to cover for him and help him. This has masked the problem for a while but we’re paying him too much money ($425k per year) to rely on others for things clients are expecting him to do.

We know we need to show him the door. But my concern is how we share the decision with others in the firm and with clients. Thanks for any help with this.