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8 Ideas For Getting a Bad Employee To Quit


What is one idea for getting a bad employee to quit?


To help you get a bad employee to quit, we asked CEOs and people managers this question for their best ideas. From setting strict deadlines for improvement to asking probing questions, there are several resourceful ways that may help you get a bad employee to quit your organization.


Here are eight ideas for getting bad employees to quit:

  • Set Strict Deadline for Improvement

  • Be Direct With Employee

  • Document Your Team’s Performance Consistently

  • Offer Quitting Bonus

  • Hold Regular Job Performance Meetings

  • Get Employee To Write Audit on Their Work

  • Try Helping Employees Find Purpose

  • Ask Probing Questions



Set Strict Deadline for Improvement

Bad employees are likely to quit when they're constantly challenged and put out of their comfort zone, owing to the fact that they simply don't want to put in the effort. If that's the case, your best bet is to confront them about their performance and set a strict deadline for them to diligently put in the hard work and effort. More often than not, a bad attitude will end up leaving as soon as they realize exactly how much is expected of them.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.



Be Direct With Employee

Be direct. Ask the employee if they want to work there. The question may shock them. Many times a bad employee is not happy with their job. Asking the direct question may motivate the employee to make a decision and go pursue another opportunity that is more aligned with their interests and skills.

Scott Baker, Stage 3 Leadership


Document Your Team’s Performance Consistently

Be consistent in documenting your team’s performance using one primary employee management system; when people are fairly and consistently held accountable, the ‘bad’ employees either promote themselves out the door, or it’s simply a matter of time before performance management beats them to it. The process and system used must be consistent from person to person across the organization to stay HR compliant and improve ease of use for line managers and other supervisors.




Whether using a software platform like WorkDay or analog forms under lock and key, coaching conversations, disciplinary documentation, and other relevant ‘sources of truth’ should always be found in the same place with the same format. Having well-documented standard operating procedures and HR processes to support accountability helps you stay organized, efficient, and able to stay on the same page as other managers when dealing with challenging employees who need to go.

Russell Lieberman, Altan Insights


Offer Quitting Bonus

One tactic for getting a non-ideal employee to exit the organization is to go the Zappos route and offer a quitting bonus. In the long-term, a poor cultural fit or underperforming employee is likely to cost your organization much more than that one-term payout. The bonus provides an incentive for these individuals to quit and distinguishes these folks from the team members who are passionate and really want to be at your company. Not to mention, the money helps you and the mismatched employee to part ways on good terms and helps to preserve your employer brand.

Carly Hill, Virtual Holiday Party


Hold Regular Job Performance Meetings

Holding regular meetings with an underperforming employee to make it clear how far below your expectations he or she is performing can have a huge impact, and can lead to both parties understanding that the employment relationship should come to an end. It’s most important to be frank with an employee, being clear about your expectations, and stating clearly when an employee is failing to reach them. Then, give specific, individual performance objectives to the employee to work on before the next scheduled performance meeting. For the most part, people don’t want to continually disappoint management, so if they improve, that’s good for both of you. If they don’t, it’s likely clear what should be done.

John Jacob, Hoist


Get Employee to Write Audit on Their Work

Having them evaluate their own work is the start of addressing the issues you might have with them. If they struggle to showcase any positives or successes, it might give them the same perspective that you might have of them. Realistically though, it depends on what you call a 'bad employee'. I'd be much more inclined to focus on getting the best out of them than forcing them to quit. Find out their drivers, help them find new ways to make progress or demonstrate their capabilities and ask them outright - 'are you happy in your role, if not how can we work together to both benefit?'


If they have no will to change or improve after that, simply focus more attention on those that do and check back on them periodically. They may have just been having a rough time.

Nik Hudson, Rutland Cycling


Try Helping Employees Find Purpose

The questions are often the answers. What makes an employee bad? Underperformance? Not a fit for culture? Not a fit for the team? Rather than ask how can I get rid of someone, ask why is that person still here? It is very easy to see that someone is not a fit. What is not easy to see, is if that person truly wants to be there or not. Just because they are there physically, it does not mean that they are fully present. Seek to understand the individual. Who they are and what is their reason. Maybe they need a sense of community and work is the only place. Maybe they need an escape from their regular life and work is their only solitude, even if they are "bad" at it.


The answer to how to get a bad employee to quit, is not to get rid of them, rather help them. Help find their purpose. Once they find their purpose, they will either become a "good" employee or they will by their own will and choice, choose to pursue something more meaningful for their lives. Don't quit on people. Help them quit.

Munt Alhussain, Experiences Not Transactions


Ask Probing Questions

Poor performance is often an indicator that an employee is unhappy, burned out, or otherwise unsatisfied with their work experience. If it's impossible to motivate and re-energize them, then it's time for a conversation. Start by sharing some of your passions in a casual conversation, and get them to do the same. Then ask if they could see themselves achieving that level of personal happiness in their current position.


Ask them what they like most and least about their current job and company culture. Then ask them what they would change "in a perfect world" to be really happy about their work. The point is to ask lots of questions without coming across as intrusive. This shouldn't be a single conversation, but instead a process over a period of time to start planting seeds to motivate the employee to either improve performance, or to start pursuing other opportunities.

Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions




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