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Why You Should Stop
Firing People In This Economy

Building Teams

Is it safe to fire people in this economy?

I talk to a lot of business owners. Week after week, I’m meeting people from all over the country who are intent on building a great business. After the last few years, a lot of these folks are nervous about economic instability and the impact it could have on their organizations.

Makes sense, right? And since I lead our People Essentials workshop and have authored a book called TeamWork, I naturally get a lot of questions about a business’s most important resource: People.

The one I’ve heard the most lately? “It seems like it’s so hard to find workers out there. Is it safe to fire people in this economy?”

I’ve thought about this question a lot. After pondering it, I came to the conclusion that there’s really one reason why you should stop firing team members who aren’t fulfilling their duties in this (or any other) economic environment. 

The ONE reason you should stop firing underperformers

You’ve given up. 

You’ve abandoned your business’s mission, you’ve lost sight of the vision, and all of your goals and targets and everything you’ve worked so hard to build just don’t matter any longer, because you’ve given up. 

That’s it. That’s the only reason to stop firing people in this economy. It’s because you’ve given up.

Think back to why you started your business to begin with. You had a vision. You created something out of nothing. You generated customers. You built a team to serve them. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re a leader.

As someone who is embodying the American dream, do you really think it’s worth distracting yourself with whether or not it’s okay to fire employees who aren’t bringing their A-game to your business? No way!

Every environment is an opportunity to create success

I read a study recently that said that fewer than 1% of employees are getting laid off from their jobs right now. Typically, that figure hovers around 2%. In a related study, 2/3rds of the 2,000 hiring managers surveyed said they’d rehire average performers, and %16 of those surveyed said they’d rehire anyone, no matter what their skillset was. 

My take? That’s fucking nuts. 

Pardon the language, but when I read something like that, all I can think of is what low expectations you must have for your company culture, your ability to serve your mission, and how poor of an environment you must be willing to have. It’s a recipe for a toxic work environment. 

If anything, you should be looking at this as the enormous opportunity it is. You don’t have to pander to this job market. You really don’t. In fact, you have the ability to actualize a massive picture of what your business can be. 

You have the power, in this economic environment or any other, to create a business culture so appealing that people will see themselves working inside your organization and will do all they can to become a part of it. 

Tough conversations start with brave leadership. That’s on you.

But I do want to be abundantly clear about something: Don’t use labor statistics or anecdotal evidence about economic conditions as an excuse to not have tough conversations and cut loose low-performers. 

If someone isn’t working out, then you need to remove them from your payroll. I feel like the theme of firing people is one that I’m constantly talking about, but I honestly think it’s a subject that managers and business owners really do struggle with. 

Dealing with poor performers reveals your vulnerabilities. Are you as good of a leader as you thought? I can tell you that you’re a better leader for holding your team accountable and cutting people loose who don’t meet your expectations than if you’re someone who just looks the other way. 

That poor performer is affecting your team’s morale. That poor performer is changing your team’s perception of you. That poor performer is underwhelming your customers. 

New people equal new possibilities for your business

Sure, finding the right people and hiring the right people and keeping them requires a great deal of effort, but this is all in pursuit of creating an exceptional organization that embodies your company’s mission, exemplifies a winning culture, and creates sustainable growth, no matter what the economists are saying. 

Isn’t that a more fulfilling way to spend your time and energy vs. being in a stressful environment filled with apathetic employees and angry clients?

Hiring and training new employees is the lifeblood of your business. New people can open up new possibilities. Keeping disengaged employees because you’re threatened by the work of new employees is anti-survival for your business. I need you to understand this.

I go over this and so much more in my book, Team/Work, as it relates to, among other things, my experience in growing our team from 50 to over 120 people in the course of a year. 

Do you really know what you’re made of? Push yourself!

When you’ve decided that you’re going to block out all of the noise, ignore the scaremongering of the media, and truly start building your business, unencumbered by distractions, you see what you’re made of. 

And if you need an extra nudge, a reminder that you are a leader and you are a creator of great things, then I would encourage you to read Team/Work. It’s a guidebook designed to help you weather the storm of building and maintaining great teams. 

Just go to to order your free copy. Seriously. We will ship you a book free of charge. That’s how much I care about the health of your business. All you have to cover is shipping and handling. I assure you that this book will be a game-changer for your ability to lead and guide your team. Enjoy!