Carry them for 3 months?

Carry them for 3 months?

We started working with a new client this week – a private sector company with nine employees.

They had an employee that’d been there a year who just wasn’t performing despite being spoken to, offered training and so on and so forth.

We asked the critical questions, checked that the employee had no protected characteristics, and then let them know they could dismiss them.

Turns out we weren’t the only HR provider they’d spoken to about this issue.

They were in contract with Bright HR (a budget online HR service with an advice line attached), and they’d given them very different advice:

3-month performance review, and then make a decision.

On the face of it, you might regard Bright HR’s advice as “kinder” than ours.

But here’s the truth: big corporates, with multiple managers in large departments, are much more able to “carry” an employee who isn’t pulling their weight for an additional three months.

But if you’re a small business, with a small team and one employee isn’t contributing, three months is a long old time to be effectively down a person.

We’re not callous, but our job is to be “kind” to our clients – the organisations and businesses that hire us to help them thrive.

Sometimes, that means making the tough decisions in the best interests of the organisation.

And I know that over the years, clients appreciate having an HR team like that in their corner – our new client certainly did: after 15 minutes of chatting with me, the business owner told me he was so glad he’d contacted us.


In his words, he’d “finally found an HR company that understood small business”.

Yes, he was still in contract with Bright HR, but he signed up with us too, because he could see Bright HR’s advice for what it was – corporate, ‘one size fits all’, and unhelpful for small business.

Two things:

  • If staff are under two years of continuous service, you have the possibility of just saying it isn’t working out and giving them notice (after checking for protected characteristics)
  • Just because the HR provider you have chosen is the best one for your budget constraints, it does not mean they are the best option for your strategic development. You gets what you pays for.


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