Hi folks, Steve “The Hurricane,” and for today’s episode of “A Drink with the Hurricane,” we are going to talk about how to let someone go from our organization objectively. This is a very important topic that all business owners should know how to do. So raise your glass and let’s toast to your success. Cheers.

So obviously we’re talking about operations, and something that comes up often at my board member meetings for the Home Care Elite Academy members is when there’s somebody that we have to part ways with. And I can tell you right now every single business owner that I’ve worked with who hasn’t let someone go, it’s like a right of passage. It’s something that you have to do. Like you know your business is successful when you get to a point where you have to let somebody go, right? It’s one of those things that when we start our business, we don’t start our businesses with the hope that “I’m gonna fire somebody.” When I dreamed of opening Hurricane Marketing Enterprises, never in those dreaming moments was I thinking, “Man one day I’m gonna fire somebody and let them go,” right? No, most business owners do not let people go easily. We take it very seriously.

As a matter of fact, the members of the Home Care Elite Academy that I speak to all the time, they love their staff. They give their credit as to why they are successful as they are, partly to the people who work for them. And many instances, they have somebody on their team or there’s several people on their team who aren’t the right people and that person they end up keeping on the team far too long, and then eventually they end up letting the person go and they don’t like doing it. So if you’re watching this and you are an employee, rest assured that like 90% of business owners don’t like firing people. And 90% of business owners keep people working who shouldn’t be on the team anymore. But it’s necessary to be able to let the right people go. Meaning when there’s somebody that should go, it’s necessary to let that person go, right? Why? Because when you have somebody on your team who is bad for the business, they bring everybody else around them down.

And I know this because every time I’ve ever had somebody on my team that I should have let go and I waited too long to let them go, the millisecond that person was gone, every other person in the office was like, “Oh, thank God you got rid of so and so.” And it’s a true statement. And in all the offices of my clients as well. When they let somebody go who needs to be let go, the rest of the office breathes a sigh of relief like, “Thank God that person’s going.” And then all of a sudden, the business booms and grows and they bring a new person in and the culture is right. And everything is going. It’s literally as if your business has a cancer and you have to cut the cancer out and remove it from the body so that the business can continue to thrive, and then it heals properly. And when it heals properly that’s the new person that comes in and the business thrives and grows again, right? It’s exactly like doing that.

I’ll never forget. I’ll give you some signs by telling two stories of people who used to work for me at Care Choice, my home care agency back in the day that we had to let go. The first person was our office manager, Jennifer. Jennifer’s a great person, and if Jennifer happens to see this video someday it’s no hard feelings. This was more than a decade ago and I’m sure you are much happier now. As a matter of fact I’m going to use that as a point because the other person I wanna talk about as well, Kim, both of them I know are in much better situations today than they were when they were working for us at Care Choice. So many times when you let somebody who’s not happy in your organization go, they end up going somewhere else that is better for them that they are happier and more fulfilled at. And it ends up working out for them too. So it makes you and your business happier. And it works out for that person as well because life does go on. People get over it, right? just throwing you some information on the other side of what it’s like for the person being let go as well. But here are the signs. When it came to Jennifer, I love Jennifer. Jennifer was the first person there when I came onto the company. Before I owned the company I was the Director of Business Development. She was the Office Manager, but the problem was, she was a Part-time Office Manager. And so as Care Choice grew, we needed a Full-time Office Manager. It’s just based off of a need. And we told her that but she didn’t want the position.

So then we said, “All right, we’re going to have to hire an Office Manager and you can’t be the Office Manager anymore because you’re part-time, you only work 25 hours a week, and the Office Manager we need 40 hours a week. So we’re going to hire someone who’s going to be the Office Manager. You’re going to have to accept it.” She agreed to it until we hired the Office Manager. And then when we hired the Full-time Office Manager, it just didn’t work out. They fought a lot, they would get on each other’s nerves, she was very insubordinate and her demeanor changed. And so it got to a point where eventually many months after we should have done it, we had to back the actual Office Manager and part way with the part-time employee that we loved. It was not easy to do it, but it was the right thing for the company and ultimately the right thing for Jennifer to which she was able to move on and do what she had to do, and the company continued to thrive after she was gone. 

And the other situation with Kim, Kim was a great person. I’m still friends with Kim, right? But the challenge was that she was not happy with the income she was earning. And hey, I get it. We weren’t paying her a little bit of money but she wanted to make more money and this is what we could afford to pay her. And so it got to a point where one day she was complaining so much about her compensation that we had a client call us and say, “You should pay your Office Manager more than you’re paying her.” And we were just mortified by that. And it led to us doing, here’s what you want to do, create a PIP or a Performance Improvement Plan. We had a meeting, we sat down, we went over all of the challenges including this issue. You should not be discussing your compensation with a client. Under no circumstances in any situation is that acceptable work behavior. As you can all imagine as you’re hearing me say this. There were other things as well, and we listed them all on there. 

When I’ve had to let people go here at Hurricane Marketing Enterprises, and again, not often but several times, I had to let people go. We had this PIP moment. You list everything out, it’s written on a document, you explain it to the employee with another employee as a witness, so that this way there’s somebody seeing it happen. Everybody signs off on it. Interesting enough, one of the people that I had to let go refused to sign off on it and I said, “Okay, well, there’s a witness here right now. Witness, you see that this employee is not signing off on it? That’s fine. You’re signing off on it, right?” “Yes, I’m signing off on it.” So I said, “Here’s a witness. Fine, you don’t wanna sign off on it? Fine.” And we gave him a copy of it, right? So there was somebody to cover your tail, right? Dot your i’s, cross your t’s. When you do all the things that you don’t want the person to do, then you put them on this probation, and it’s usually 90 days, that if they do any of these things during that 90 day period they will be terminated immediately.

What this does, is this makes it so that it is objective. And it’s an objective standpoint that you’re coming from when the termination happens. Half the times I’ve done a PIP, the person rose to the occasion, it became water under the bridge, and to this day, they still work for me and they’re an amazing employee. The other half of the time the person, because what you did with this PIP was you created accountability, the person ended up doing one of those things on the PIP that they weren’t supposed to do. And then it becomes clear as day. This is not subjective. This isn’t an emotional thing and you can take the emotions out of it because clearly we said, “These are the four or five things that we’re not supposed to do. You did number three on this list, now by your actions, you terminated yourself.”

The hardest person I ever had to let go from my agency was somebody who helped me when I first got started and worked for me for five years. I did not want to let this person go. As a matter of fact, I had tears streaming down my eyes when I said goodbye to this person because I truly loved this person. I still love this person. If he’s watching this video, he knows exactly who he is. I still love you, but it was the right thing for you and for me, right? I went through, I did this PIP. It was like six days, five days later, one of the things on the list of things not to do this individual did. And so the very next day I had the person come into the office, I sat down, I wrote it out ahead of time because I knew it was going to be hard for me to say. I couldn’t even look at them because I was so emotional. I was shaking. I had a witness, the witness who was there was very nervous and felt for me and for the person being let go. But the person who was the witness clearly said after it was done, “You did not wanna do that. I could tell because you were crying and you were trembling as you were reading the termination letter.”

And I went over it and I wrote down exactly what the person did. It was one of these items that was on the PIP plan that we had a meeting last week about. And so as a result unfortunately, if you are not going to do what you said you were going to do, then you don’t respect this company and you can’t work here. I cannot have insubordination in an organization when I can’t have you do stuff that I let you get away with that I don’t let other people do. You can’t do that. And so I had to let the person go. Eventually we cleaned out their office, I walked him out to his car, I actually hugged him, crying, and said goodbye. And I actually told him, I said, “I know you’re not happy here. Go find your position that will make you happy. Thank you for everything.” And we made up terms and I ended up giving him a big severance package.

And the reason why, because I loved them and I didn’t wanna have to do it. And you don’t have to do a severance package. That you don’t have to do. That’s up to you. Somebody works for you for a long period of time. Something that I’ve seen happen a lot recently, is I’ve had a lot of clients who’ve had people who worked for them for five or more years, who are amazingly reliable, dependable staff members, who then because of the pandemic and the situations that the pandemic threw at that individual, all of a sudden their reliability went out the window, and they didn’t want to come to the office. They had to deal with their kids being home from school and things that are really beyond the control of the business, beyond the control of the person too. But all of a sudden that person who goes from being a dependable employee is no longer a dependable employee and for the sake of the business, that’s what you have to remember, right?

For the sake of the business and the caregivers who work for you. And most importantly, the patients that you are providing services with. You cannot run a business when your operation is in shambles because of one person no matter how great they were to you over the years. If you have to part ways, you have to part ways and this is the right way to do it because you have to keep it objective. It’s not emotional. It’s not personal. It is objective. We have patients who are paying us to keep them home safely. We have workers in the field who are working independently of us and our supervision every single day. We must be on top of our operations. If we’re not on top of our operations and there’s somebody who’s causing turmoil or things to fall out of whack, we have to part ways with that person because lives are at stake. 

And so my friends, this is a tip for operations. If you’ve never been to the Home Care Evolution Conference, do yourself a favor, click the link below, find out all the details about when the next one is, then register immediately. If you like these videos, imagine spending three days with me, my staff and my team, my coaches and my top clients giving you all of the know-how to completely adapt your business to changing circumstances so that you can transform both yourself and the people who work for you so that your organization will thrive for years to come. Do the right thing, sign up and register for the Home Care Evolution Conference right now, and I’ll give you everything you need to blow away the conference competition.