Employee Relations Issue - Need Advice

(This question came to me from an HR professional anonymously - Steve)

We have an employee that has been on board with us for about a year. He started in a client support position and was not a good fit for the role (lack of customer service skills on the phone). He was moved over to an Account Associate position in the spring instead (newly created position).

This all occurred in the transition between HR Managers, and he was unfortunately given a raise with this move even though that was not justified (poor performance, lateral move). He has a new boss that started after this move was made, and she does not agree that this position is something that is truly necessary in her department. His one year performance review was just completed and the theme throughout was that no one really understands what his role is, he doesn't really understand his role, and he'd prefer to be in a different role. He is meeting minimum expectations and at times failing expectations, which we have brought to his attention and coached him on.

Since he doesn't want to be in his role, and we do not have any other roles in the company for him (and frankly, he is not that great of an employee), we want to start the conversation about having him exit the organization. Has anyone ever faced a situation like this, where you encourage an employee to leave?

Thanks for any insight you can give.

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  • You might consider eliminating the position altogether.  That would involve terminating the employee.  He would likely be eligible for unemployment compensation.  If you don't want to take that drastic of a step, that is understandable.  But it's the solution I would probably choose.  It's unfortunate but may be necessary. 

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  • I have had this conversation with employees in the past -- "If you are not happy with this role/company/manager and we do not have any other roles open in which you are qualified, you should consider moving on. A job is not worth being unhappy at work every day. If/when you get to this point, let me know and we'll talk through it."  I have seen a positive outcome for the employee and company, but many times the employee does nothing to change their situation and you have to take other actions. In the good situation, I was able to post the job to look for a replacement while giving the employee flexibility for interviewing because the employee was comfortable enough to have an open conversation.

    A different approach might be to ask the employee what he/she wants. He/she is unhappy, so what do you want the result to be? New job - not happening. New manager - nope.  Unemployment - maybe. Hopefully leading them in the direction that the option that is in their control is to look for a new position outside of the organization. In my opinion, there is little downside to having these conversations with employees. 

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  • I think that there are three options. First, if the position isn't necessary, eliminate the position and let the employee go and collect  unemployment. The second option would be to have a conversation with the employee about the position, as the person before mentioned. If he's not happy, and the company isn't happy, mutually agree and part ways. He may still be eligible for unemployment.  The third option is to document performance issues and follow the disciplinary process, which of course is going to take time.  

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