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Updated: Aug 3, 2018

Recently, one of our customers got challenged by a very negative team member. Creating rumours, manipulating colleagues, being aggresive, limits were lost somewhere. After trying multiple tactics to turn this team member around, this man was simply not up for it. He is not in the right spot. As an entrepreneur you have to ask yourself one HR question at this point: is it time to say farewell instead of goodbye for the weekend?

Company contribution

You can only move on, when this team member's contribution is smaller than the frustration and costs it brings. In this balance, a comparison is easily made: will it hurt your business too much to get rid of him or her today?

If it does, you have to figure out what exactly gets hurt. And minimize this loss.

Does it hurt your bank account, due to legal costs or the ransom you need to pay to say farewell? Or does it hurt your customer base, which is significantly depending on this team member? It could also be that you see a lot of company knowledge waving goodbye. Start by putting efforts into regaining this power, so you keep the company vivid and you start unraveling the negative strings attached.

As soon as you're reading this article, you are probably way ahead of this phase, and getting rid of this negative person has become a top priority right now. But how in earth do you get rid of this pain in the ass?

1. Shake hands

There's a complex strategy possible in saying goodbye to an employee. However, it all comes down to one thing: both parties need to be happy and able to move on. Most of the time, it is all about the "Ego". Personal status and cash. Taking the short cut is deciding what an early goodbye costs (as long as legally there are no other options) and how to wave one away with a proper, status maintaining farewell. Long term options can be more lucrative, since stubborn negotiations can bring down the price of a farewell, but can also drain energy and money from other divisions/team members in your company.

2. Go legal

If there's enough room for a legal case, start building it immediately. Document personal errors, start tracking paper trails or any other misfits within the function. Make sure there's a clear function description and there are very regular evaluations with this team member, signed by both parties. Contact your lawyer at the start of this documenting, so you do it 100% aligned with any applicable (national) law.

The Short Cut

Be aware that any legal case costs you a lot of time, money and fun in life, which is not coming back. As we have experienced the last decade with this type of employees, saying goodbye to troublesome employees has to be very efficient and requires well-planned communication.

How do you make this goodbye efficient? By showing the employee the mirror that he or she is not on the right spot and is actually ruining life (please, are you REALLY happy right now?).

If there's any social sense left out there, make sure they are also aware they influence the lifes of others in a negative way. Why making this trouble? There are so many opportunities around, in which a positive life is priority number one. If this happy life is blocked by some financial constraints, check what you are obliged to pay (a lawyer can tell you very quickly) and present this as renewed freedom.


If there's some revenge out there in one's heart, that blocks one to leave, make sure you figure this out very quickly. As long as you are able to talk with one in a decent way. If not, this probably is what the revenge is all about. If there's some hassle between the two of you, you will always be the one who has to solve it and make someone leave without leaving a trail of disaster.

Take your responsibility and most of all, decide and talk.