It’s one of the realities of being a boss: at some point you will have to terminate an employee. In some cases it may even be an employee that at one time you considered a major asset to your operation. Regardless, saying “You’re fired” or “Sorry but I believe it’s time we part ways” is not a pleasant situation.

So when should you consider firing an employee? Is there a stringent set of guidelines that can make this difficult task easier?

Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules for terminating an employee, but the following four instances may guide you in making a proper judgement call.

  1.       Not performing up to your standards

This is a no-brainer. If your employee is not meeting expectations, it may be time to let him go. Especially if you have given him ample opportunity to improve his performance. Try to have quantitative data available so you can backup your decision. When you are attempting to replace your employee, sometimes at great cost, having hard data at your fingertips that justifies your decision can help you avoid second guessing your conclusion to terminate.

  1.       Negative attitude

Negative attitudes tend to breed even more negative attitudes. If your employee is a bad apple that is spoiling the bunch it is time to issue him a pink slip. You can give him a chance to brighten his disposition, but holding on to a negative employee will lower morale and, even worse, cost you customers.

  1.       Refuses to cooperate with changes

Change can be a positive thing for your company, but for some employees any change to your organization is considered a turn for the worse. This is where many former good employees transition into underperforming workers who enjoy complaining to anyone who will listen. If you are changing your policies, protocols and other practices and an employee refuses to be a good teammate, a summons to your office may be in order.

  1.       You believe your company is better off without him

Sometimes you just have to tap into your instinctual side. Ask yourself this question “Would I be upset if my employee resigned today?” If your very first reaction to your employee walking out the door for the last time is absolute relief, then make the necessary move. Conversely, if you can’t imagine moving forward without your employee, you may want to reconsider your decision to fire him