Why You Shouldn’t Hesitate to Fire a Top-Performing Employee

When your top producer is killing your culture, they simply have to go.

Our top salesperson had consistently exceeded their monthly quota for three months and just brought in the largest deal in company history–they were a sales rock star. Three weeks later, we had to part ways. Why?

Because they were a jerk.

At my company, we hire and fire by core values and one of these is “No A**holes.” This employee was helping our business immensely but they were bringing the rest of the team down with their behavior at work.

When your company is struggling to hit numbers and this kind of employee is bringing in 25, 50, 75 percent of your revenue, it can feel like a tough decision: keep my business afloat or let go the person that makes everyone miserable.

Three reasons why I wouldn’t hesitate to let them go:


1. It invalidates your core values.

Most companies have words on a wall in their office because they’ve been told that they need core values, a mission statement, a North Star to be a successful company. All of these are critical to building a winning team and a successful company, but many of these companies actually put money above everything else.

If you have words on a wall that stand for teamwork, integrity, and kindness but employ someone that does not reflect these values, then your company doesn’t really stand for anything.

You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk, and that means hiring and firing by your clearly defined values, even if the employee is a top producer.

2. It causes good people to quit.

With low unemployment numbers, it’s a job seeker’s market, so why would an employee at your company stay when they have to deal with a jerk on a regular basis? They wouldn’t. That’s why it’s important to remove the individual from your team before you start seeing a mass exodus.

3. It hurts your bottom line.

This seems like false logic, as they might be bringing your company the most revenue, but when their attitude and behavior is impacting the rest of your team, it brings down morale. When employees are engaged and happy at work, you see business results. Having a jerk on your team is a sure way to disengage your workforce and see your numbers plummet.

And for my company, after we let that person go, we lost many of the clients they brought on. The sales that team member made weren’t qualified sales.

Losing their monthly revenue and losing the customers they brought on was painful, but it was a short-term issue. Our business was far better off in the long run as we were able to hire someone just as great for our company that truly embodied our core values.

The next time you’re having a debate about the merits of money over core values, do the right thing for your business and part ways with the jerk.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Read Next


Google Wanted to Know What What Makes a Manager Great, so It Conducted a Study. Here Are the Results

20 years ago, you probably would've laughed if someone said your life would one day be irrevocably changed by a company called Google. What's a google?But, as you know, Google's become the largest entity in one of... (contd.)

Your Guide to Innovating Like Amazon: Focus on Inspiring People

Innovation is imperative for long-term success, but most companies struggle to maintain an innovative approach over the long haul.Innovation ultimately is driven by the individual people inside the organization, and it requires personal investment. If... (contd.)

How to Hook Your Audience Within the First 60 Seconds

How you open and close your presentation decides everything.Nothing matters more for effectiveness.The internet is full of great ideas for how to open and how to close speeches. You'll be ahead of most speakers if you... (contd.)

Why Investing in Gender Equality is Crucial for Your Business’s Future

We just saw another International Women's Day come and go, and the interest in this 100-year-old holiday is greater than ever. For proof, just look to Google's Think with Google blog. According to Google's... (contd.)

3 Valuable Business Lessons You Can Learn From a Bicycle

I actually cannot recall where I first heard this, but it was many years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. The story was that a student came to school on his... (contd.)
- Advertisement -
Join Our Daily Newsletter
Sign up to get all the business news and intelligence that matters straight to your mailbox.
Join Our Newsletter !
Like This Article? Subscribe To Our Newsletter To Receive More Of Them Straight In Your Inbox
Contact Us.
Your Name
Thank you for your interest in Inc. Arabia. Please leave your contact details below, and we'll be in touch with you very soon.
Like This Article? Subscribe To Our Newsletter To Receive More Of Them Straight In Your Inbox