View Full Version : Firing a friend

03-22-2014, 11:04 AM
So I have a friend who is struggling right now. She knew the risks involved with hiring a friend and was prepared for them previously. She hired a friend of the family anyway and for most of the last 1.5 years, it's actually worked out GREAT for her.

Unfortunately, in the last 3-4 months, the employee has messed up repeatedly and not just little mistakes either, although those add up. She has been officially written up for a few of these and it's at the point that the woman would be fired if it were anyone else. My friend has tried talking to her and the woman swears she'll get her act together...she's just having a hard personal time.... but mistakes are still happening. My friend has decided to put her on 2 week probation and is hoping that there's improvement in that amount of time, but if not, she's preparing herself for having to fire the woman.

Even though she was prepared for the professional vs personal complications back when she hired her, she has kind of gotten comfortable at this point and is struggling with it more now. She kind of expected that if there were going to be problems, it would've been within the first few months, ya know? Not over a year later.

So any advice for her? She's still going to see the woman regularly at family events and doesn't want to tarnish the friendship, but she also has to do what's best for her business.

03-26-2014, 01:04 PM
In my opinion they need to have a good friendly talk where things are put into perspective - stop messing around or loose the job. The employee/friend in question got a lot of chances already, we can call that preferential treatment. Being hired by a friend was already a gesture of good will and friendship but now, a line has to be drawn. Even if they continue to meet at family events, a job is still a job, and no hard feeling should be involved. Maybe if the story spreads a little and other people know about the situation things will settle down.

03-26-2014, 02:16 PM
I understand that she has sympathy for her due to the friendship and is reluctant to let her go but like you said, but like you said they spoke about the possible complications when she hired her. The business owner should have a chat with her and give her a deadline to improve by, that way the employee will have no choice but to improve or face getting fired. If she then falls back into causing problems, she should be given one warning and one only before getting fired. If the employer lets her carry on and doesn't do anything about it, she will think it's okay to do what she wants and things will only get worse. It's not fair on the owner to let her company suffer because her friend can't keep up, she's already done her a favour by letting her get this far.

03-26-2014, 03:24 PM
I think that they should have a talk with her just to make sure something not going on with her. Sometimes people have problems and it affects their job status. It hard sometimes when your friends and you work together and you have to tell your friend somethings wrong or you may have to let them go. But like mentioned above just have a chat with her to see if there is something else that can be done.

03-26-2014, 04:24 PM
I think that if she has been there so long with a good track record, you should do what you can to help her with whatever struggle she is having. Life is messy. People get health problems, or their friends and family do. There can be many different issues that could be causing her poor performance. Do what you can to help. You may be rewarded in the end with an excellent and loyal employee, and family friend.

03-26-2014, 05:27 PM
I agree with everyone said especially the part about see if there is something going on that might be causing the
problem before you may have to get rid of her. But if it comes down to nothing going on to cause the problem
then you have to get rid of her because you gave her too many chances.

03-27-2014, 05:21 AM
I don't see how this should be a problem. When hiring an employee, you spell out what is expected of them. They know that if they mess up repeatedly there can only be one course of action. So the employer should realize that when it comes to dealing with work-related issues, the friend is an employee and the rules apply to her as well.

It's better to fire the woman and get it over with. They can settle their personal issues later if they must but if they can't it won't make much difference. We lose some friends along the way . . .

03-27-2014, 05:54 AM
You can also try re-appointing your friend to a position that is not so sensitive and explain to her why such movement. It is difficult to just fire a friend and its hard to see them go without a job.. so, I think it is better this way so she will still have a lesser job, you get to convey your message that she needs to take the work seriously, and still keep the friendship. If she still does those things that hurt the business, then it is best to save the business to teach her a lesson as a FRIEND of having NO JOB.. but be prepared to re-integrate her should she decides to change. make the situation a win-win for both side.

You save your business. You thought a friend to value her work, else she will be jobless. :)

Jane Hastings
03-30-2014, 10:19 AM
It's hard to fire someone especially if that someone is close to you. She should have a serious talk with her friend and let her understand everything. She should also make sure that her friend knows she's only doing what's best for her business. If the friend understands then hopefully she won't take it personally. But maybe she can give her another chance? Her friend has been working there for more than a year and if she was a great employee then maybe she deserves another shot. One last shot.

03-30-2014, 11:03 AM
I think it's important to find out if the mistakes are things the employee used to do well but now for some reason is not doing well, or is it that new tasks have been added and the person hasn't been able to sort out how to do the new tasks? If it is a failure to learn new tasks then perhaps some additional training would resolve the issue and keep the friendship intact.

If the person used to do the tasks well and stopped then she is likely going to have to fire her. We all have personal problems and this person who is allowing them to affect their work is taking advantage of the friendship, perhaps intentionally or perhaps not.

A clean break is best if she decides to fire her. I would suggest, since she is a friend, that she be given some warning such as telling her that her services will not be needed after a certain date, perhaps two weeks in advance.

03-30-2014, 03:05 PM
Employees usually own what the plans they create and I think this would be especially helpful since the employee is a friend.

The employer should sit down with the employee and discuss the issues at hand one last time and ask the employee what he or she thinks is the problem and how does he or she plan to solve it. This way it puts all the burden on the employee and the employer can document that the employee created the plan if it comes down to termination in the end.

03-30-2014, 09:06 PM
When an employee screws up, it usually costs a business money. An employer cant be taking the hit for the errors of an employee and eventually will have to let the employee go friend or not. One thing that might work is to lay off or suspend the employee. Talk to the employee and say "I cant keep you here costing me money". Have the employee sort out whatever the personal problems are and let them come back when it is done. I wouldn't offer this to just any employee but an employee who generally did good work might be worth a second shot.

03-30-2014, 11:32 PM
I would not flinch when it comes to firing someone who is not performing. If they continue being around the business you are sure the business will be affected and lose on it. Is the friend really worth that business after you have spent a lot of money building it? I do not think so.

03-31-2014, 01:33 AM
She should warn her that her actions will get her fired. Unless your friend can bear the loss of having a friend mess up then she should think twice otherwise her business won't be doing good.

03-31-2014, 11:26 AM
A probation seems like the best way to go. It will show that your friend is serious about the business and that this kind of behaviour just isn't going to cut it, while still giving the person in question one last chance to get her act together. This is why I don't suggest hiring friends, because when things don't work out the only logical thing to do is to fire them.

03-31-2014, 12:52 PM
I think the main thing she has to resolve is the friendship may end. If she deals with that first she can do what she needs to do to protect her business. That's the risk when you hire a friend. Maybe a small severence package will ease the pain and keep the friendship intact. But she needs to put her business first.

03-31-2014, 01:22 PM
When I befriended my former boss, the firing process was awkward. I did poorly at my job and I know I would be getting the boot sooner or later, but I felt my boss, and now friend, could not find the words to even initiate my termination.

But if he hadn't fired me, I would not have gotten my act together and started my own venture.

When relationships in the workplace go past the professional barrier and become personal, you may need to sugar coat your words.

My boss-turned-friend fired me by giving me a faux promotion. And by faux, I mean he moved me to another department where I could not make use of my full skill set. He knew I would not like it, but since we became friends after 6 years of working together, he knew I would accept the transfer regardless.

Needless to say, I screwed up a lot at my new position. I could not make use of any of my actual skills and day by day, I felt a little less useful.

With minimal work load, decreased work hours and my sting of bad performances, I was getting the idea that my work was not appreciated at all. My boss/friend saw that I became aware of this and I told him that the new position was not going well for me. I asked him if he could give me my old position back. This is where he worked his ninja-mindfreak on me. He told me that I had so much potential that giving me back my old position would not challenge me at all, it would be an insult, and it would not make me grow as a person. He apparently moved me to another department because he wanted to see if I would be comfortable with doing something I had no idea about. His "experiment" showed negative results and he told me, as a friend, that I might need to go on an adventure (yes, he used that term) and try something new. I could be my own boss, he said, I had the personality for it.

He said the company and I had to part ways because he said I could do so much better elsewhere or in my own venture while the company could use someone with the right skill set. I felt bad, but the confidence boost and the challenge he posed made me glad that I had been fired. Weird, I know.

Anyway, long story short: I left the company 2-3 weeks after, got my severance pay, invested in a friend's landscape business, sold pastry production supplies online, and while I am not sitting on thousands of dollars, I am making more than what I used to and I grew as a person.

Perhaps your friend could try the same thing?