Why You Should Terminate Underperforming Staff in Your Dealership


Everyone could name someone they work with now that probably shouldn’t have the role they are in. They arrive at work with a chip on their shoulder, a lackadaisical or entitled attitude, or a combative nature. It’s a person who is hard to work with and certainly isn’t a ‘plus’ to your customer experience.

That’s a part of human capital management that’s extremely difficult to address. Concerns of discrimination, harassment, and wrongful dismissal lawsuits hang over the heads of management and HR departments.

And while the waters are tricky to navigate, underperforming staff shouldn’t have a place in your dealership.

Underperformers are Rarely Non-Toxic

People who speak negatively, cause dissension, and get their way by berating and bullying are toxic people. You’ll find that, in your workplace, these toxic people are often the same ones who fall short of their targets.

It’s rare that you’ll find an underperforming staff member who maintains a positive attitude. Negativity spreads like wildfire. It’s a black hole that sucks the joy out of everyone they come into contact with.

Everyone Else Has to Work Harder

When someone isn’t carrying their share of the workload, the burden falls on those around them. And while sharing a burden from time to time is what teamwork is about, when one person is consistently carrying a lighter load than the rest, it burns the rest of the team out faster.

It Costs the Dealership in Potential Earnings

Whether it’s a salesperson, a service advisor, a manager, or otherwise, a single person who cannot meet their goals consistently is an anchor for your dealership’s earnings. The problem isn’t in how much each lost sale costs the dealership but rather the cumulative cost over the course of their tenure in your store.

Compare an underperforming staff’s unrealized sales to the cost of replacing an employee. Every new hire costs between $45,000 and $70,000 in typical turnover situations, the cost of keeping lackluster staff is much higher. For example, a salesperson meeting just 80% of their annual target could cost your dealership hundreds of thousands in profit in a single year.

How to Address Underperformers

There’s no easy way to address staff that just don’t make the cut. Here are a few tips on severing ties with underperformers in your dealership.

Offer Guidance or a Career Transition

When lackluster staff first come to your attention, address it right away. In most cases, the employee knows they aren’t living up to expectations or it could be the role isn’t the right fit. Offer coaching, guidance, and definite correction, or provide your assistance to find a better fit within the dealership or in another industry.

Give Grace… To an Extent

It’s reasonable and expected that, as a manager, you’ll provide constructive criticism for underperformers. In many situations, two warnings are a great way to address the problem areas. Give clear goals when providing warnings. And if two warnings aren’t enough to correct their performance, it’s time to cut them loose.

Take Emotion Out of It

Speak in a matter-of-fact manner when dealing with underperformers. If they’re also toxic to the workplace, you can expect they’ll manipulate the conversation with emotional pleas, anger, and crying. Present the information in a clear, concise, and objective manner with evidence of their shortcomings as reasons for termination.