“You’re fired.” Two words made famous on The Apprentice and can make any person tremble in fear and wonder what’s next for them. As blunt as it sounds, firing people or letting them go is just a part of the business cycle. It happens all the time as a company grows and needs different types of employees on their payroll.
Social media blunders, misconduct, using fake excuses when calling in sick — there are plenty of reasons why businesses fire or let go of people. But the number one reason? It all boils down to poor performance.
But a lot falls under the ‘poor performance’ umbrella, as it isn’t all KPI and goal-based exits. Let’s dive into the poor performance aspect in a bit more detail (and how you can avoid those cold sweats and stop that conversation from ever happening).
The #1 reason people are fired or let go: Poor performance
It’s pretty simple. Companies want to hire employees who do their work and do it to a high standard. That’s the case with any job. If you aren’t fulfilling the duties, you’re hired to perform a specific role and you can’t do it as outlined in the job description, then you’ll receive warnings.
These can be written or verbal and sometimes followed up with a performance review. If you still can’t perform to the expected standard, then employers will let you go because, ultimately, you aren’t a good investment for the business.
However, the issue with labeling every person that’s been fired as a ‘poor performer’ is it’s such a wide-ranging reason; it’s difficult to just boil it down to being they couldn’t perform the work. There’s actually a lot more involved in the poor performance aspect.
People don’t meet the right performance standards
It doesn’t matter what position people are in. They could be the head of sales, a senior developer or a junior software engineer. Every single role comes with tasks, requirements and standards all employees need to meet.
If people can’t meet those standards and there’s too much time and resource investment needed to get them to meet the basics, their employer is likely to fire them or let them go. The way businesses are growing; they need self-starting, skilled people they can rely on to get the job done.
Poor performance based on lateness or absenteeism
Not showing up on time is also related to poor performance and is a big part of why people are fired. In fact, studies show 4 in 10 businesses have actually let someone go for this reason. Nobody can tolerate constant lateness as it shows they don’t care.
The contract will state how many hours the person needs to work and at what time. Today, many businesses let their employees work flexibly, so they can work whenever they want as long as they complete the relevant number of hours.
But if somebody doesn’t respect the commitments, especially if it’s regular and without a good reason, the lateness or absenteeism impacts the quality of work and output. Ultimately, the company then lets that person go.
People constantly need hand-holding
During onboarding and probationary periods, employees will clearly have questions and need guidance. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if the company brings in a junior or apprentice so the expectations are different.
But at some point, the hand-holding will need to stop and people will be expected to start showing some initiative. It also means people need to do more than the bare minimum and step up as that’s what employers expect, along with showing some initiative.
If people can’t do that, they don’t progress, don’t show much interest, constantly need guidance and only do the bare minimum, the business will likely fire them.
Lying about sickness or taking time off without suitable reasons
Nobody can avoid being sick. That reason alone isn’t reasonable enough or legal for a business to fire someone or let them go. Although, if people are calling in sick or taking time off because they realized they had booked Taylor Swift tickets and only remembered the day before, chances are this won’t cut it with their employer.
Sure, if there’s an emergency or a completely valid reason, companies will be understanding and work with people to make sure they’re in a good state to work and give them the appropriate time off. However, taking advantage of this is likely to land someone in hot water, with 15% of employers from a CareerBuilder study saying they’d fire someone for this reason.
This shouldn’t leave you worried right off the bat, though. Every company has a different process but they won’t fire you for the first mistake you make. There’s always a learning curve and a formal performance process to help you get back on track. If they hired you in the first place, they obviously saw something valuable in you and your skills.
It all starts with your resume
Whether you’ve been fired in the past or want to avoid it from happening in the future due to poor performance, it all starts with your resume. When you find the positions you want to apply for, the first thing to do is shake up your resume. It could be filling in the employment gaps or highlighting the core skills, don’t set yourself up for employers to pull you up on something.
For example, if you’re skilled in Python but not an out-and-out expert, say that. The last thing you’d want is the business to pull you up on poor performance because their expectation of your Python skills was much higher than what your actual skills are.
To set yourself up for success in your future role, set up a profile on VanHack. Create an engaging profile and stand out from others to increase your chances of landing your dream career.
When you’ve done that, if you need extra support with the interview process, the VanHack Premium Academy can help you become even more prepared for your interview by helping you craft answers your interviewer wants to hear.