One of the worst tasks for any employer (including property management business owners) is firing someone. It is agony to face the task, carry it out, and try to terminate an employee gracefully. However, there is a positive perspective; one that recognizes you are actually doing the employee a favor. Does this attitude surprise you?
Think about it. When you (the employer) are not happy with an employee, it affects your relationship with that person and can spill over into your personal life. It’s also quite likely that your other property management company personnel are disgruntled with the failing employee because that person’s lack of skill, frequent mistakes, or blatant negligence impacts their ability to work effectively. AND, the employee who is under-performing is probably not that happy either. They may simply be waiting for the “ax to fall.”
Before you fire an employee, make absolutely sure they are not suited for their current position. Have you documented the facts that led to your decision to fire? Did you have them sign a written employment agreement when you hired them? Be careful and follow your procedures precisely. The person you plan to fire may not do their job properly, but they may quickly figure out how to file for unemployment or initiate an unlawful termination suit. Don’t take any risks…dot all of the i’s and cross all of the t’s before terminating employment. You will also have more confidence during the termination discussion if you do your homework and know state laws.
Most property management company employees who are facing termination already know they aren’t fulfilling their job. There is even a good chance that they’re already looking for employment elsewhere. It’s easier for you if they quit before you have to fire them, but waiting for that to happen is not the answer. Some individuals never see that they’re not suited for their position, which can lead to difficulties with clients, other employees, and harm your company reputation.
A property management business friend once said to me, “The employee should always be looking out for themselves – who else is going to do this?” There is a lot of truth in this statement. As an employer you do your best to give employees tools and training and pay them adequately for their work. But it is not your job to understand what is best for each employee’s life – it is their job to do this. Prolonging an inevitable termination will only hurt you, them, and anyone else involved. If an employee is not a good fit, don’t avoid firing them – just get the job done.
When you terminate a property management company employee, do your best to:
- Do a complete an honest evaluation on their job performance.
- Prepare documentation and the termination forms they need to sign. Have a copy of the confidentiality agreement they signed when hired ready to give them as well.
- Have their final paycheck with explanations ready for them.
- Meet with the employee and have a reasonable discussion with them. Keep it professional and centered on the job performance as much as possible.
- Try to point out their positive attributes and suggest other areas of employment where they may succeed.
- Stress that keeping them with your company will keep them from finding the right position, one that will lead to their future happiness.
- Collect all of their company documentation and files, as well as the keys to the office.
- Remind them once again of the confidentiality agreement they signed and be sure they understand what that means.
It isn’t always possible to have an open and honest discussion and a calm reasonable end to difficult employee situations. But, you can always do your best to follow a procedure that leads to ending on good terms. When you are trying to create an excellent property management company, with a strong service reputation, don’t ignore employee problems. Be brave and take the time to fire personnel who are not performing up to your standards. Your clientele will thank you. Your other employees will thank you. You might even thank yourself…
If you haven’t developed a system for hiring, managing, and firing your real estate or property management company employees, check out The Employee Manual / System for Real Estate and Property Management. Our customizable template will save you loads of time by giving you a strong starting point.
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.