Culture Matters Part Four: When to Fire an Employee Who Doesn’t Fit Your Company Culture

In this series, my goal is to help you define and create a powerful culture in your business. A good company culture keeps your employees engaged and working in cohesion, and it ensures that your employees are focused on the priorities that you want them focused on. 

In the last article, we talked about how to hire for cultural fit. Your goal in the hiring process should be to attract and hire applicants who are a natural fit for your company culture, not just people who have the ability to get the job done. 

We shared several tips to make that happen. But – what happens when you make a mistake? Mistakes are inevitable, because every job applicant is at their very best during the interview process. No matter how clever you are, and how well-designed your interview process is, every once in a while you’re going to find that a new hire isn’t the cultural fit that you hoped for. 

In that case, you have two options. You can reform them – quickly – or you need to let them go. 

Start with reform. Explain to your employee what you’re looking for, and help them to understand how they’re missing the mark. If they’re able and willing to adapt their behavior to fit your cultural standards, they can stay! But you and your management team need to monitor their performance carefully. Don’t tolerate a gradual backslide – keep your standards high. 

Don’t hesitate to part ways. It’s never pleasant to let an employee go. It’s a tough conversation to have, and even worse, firing an employee means that you have to go through the hiring process again! But as a business owner, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to keep an employee around if they don’t belong. Draw a hard line in the sand. If an employee doesn’t have the desire or the ability to embrace your company culture, let them go. The longer they stick around, the more damage they will do to the rest of your team. You can’t afford to let a single “bad apple” ruin the culture you’ve worked so hard to build. 

It’s never pleasant to let an employee go. But it beats the alternative! When you have an employee that doesn’t fit your company culture, let them go before they take the rest of your team with them.