Episode 76: Hiring, Firing, and When to Call it Quits (Part 2)

Barry Ennis

In part two of this series Barry and Shay take a look into the often difficult process of firing staff.

Barry Ennis

Fitness Professional

In part two of this series Barry and Shay take a look into the often difficult process of firing staff. How do you know when it’s time to let someone go? What are things you can do to turn the situation around? And if you have to part, how do you approach it? If you’ve struggled with finding effective strategies for the hiring and firing process, then this series is for you!

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • Signs that it’s not working and how you can try to counteract
  • Strategies to keep the termination process as respectful and friendly as possible
  • How to protect your business in the process

Here's the Complete List of Tips:

When things are not working (01:25)

Make sure that – from the beginning – you manage communication and expectations; make sure everyone at your studio feels comfortable coming to you and everyone knows what’s expected of them professionally.

Signs that it’s not working:

  • Hesitation (from either party) about meetings, phone calls and other communication, putting things off
  • If the instructor is late, missing classes, calling in sick, not putting effort in, not feeling inspired, feeling resentful about things happening at the studio

Trying to turn things around (05:16)

The first thing you should do as a studio owner is to pull your instructor aside and have a conversation. Understand what’s going on in their life that might impact their performance. They may not be happy or fulfilled at work and that is something you can heavily influence! You should always be in communication with your team, hold regular meetings, provide regular opportunities to challenge and inspire them and also provide continuing education.

As an instructor, be honest to yourself about your performance and integrity in your job.Sometimes being a good team player means removing yourself from the team.

Warning system (09:34)

Before you let someone go there needs to be a warning system in place. You have to give them the opportunity to improve. Do consistent check-ins and goal settings with your team and conduct quarterly or yearly evaluations. Create a performance improvement plan to help guide someone who’s falling behind or at least point them in the right direction before letting them go.And document everything – an employee should never be surprised that they’re being let go.

Firing (13:24)

Once you decide to let someone go because neither your help nor warnings have turned things around, it’s best to follow these strategies in order to keep things civil and professional:

  • Schedule a meeting during down time or off-site. You want to make sure your employee maintains their dignity and doesn’t have to leave in front of colleagues or members.

  • First, make sure you present the facts of why you’re letting them go.

  • Be empathetic but stay clear and direct, don’t talk around it or sugarcoat.

  • Keep it short but provide enough details for them to understand why you made your decision.
  • Schedule a time they can come back to pick up their stuff.

  • Cancel access to company information and change passwords they had access to in order to protect your business
  • Communicate the termination to the team as soon as possible. You may also have to communicate it to the members.

What NOT to do (22:13)

  • Do not fire someone by email or text (and don’t break up with someone that way either...) Meet them face to face!

  • Don’t wait for the perfect moment and do not engage in your employee’s personal drama.

  • Don’t talk too much or veer from the facts.
  • Don’t ask them to continue to teach or come to work after being let go. If things are ending on a good note, give them the chance to say goodbye to their customers or come back as a member.
  • Don’t let them leave with any company property.

  • Don’t hide the termination from staff and members.

  • Don’t talk about details with any other employees and don’t engage in gossip.

  • Set boundaries and create space. Consider repositioning them instead of firing (different location, responsibilities etc.) but make sure you don’t demote them (in the eyes of the clients).

Other References in This Episode:

Episode 59: Becoming an Effective Leader Through Goal-Setting

Show Note's Index