Sacking Dilemma for Contractor
One of our readers has a sacking dilemma as to which contractors to get rid of.
We were sent this to our Feedback section asking our advice.
Eddie, Project Manager
I have to get rid of two of our 4 contractors.
It is difficult as one contractor is pregnant, one is just back in contract work after 9 months out, another was out for 6 months, whilst the other is fine and is the best contractor we have.
It has turned out that although we took 4 contractors on six weeks ago, our budget has suddenly been cut back for the project, so it means that we can only afford 2 of the 4 contractors.
Although the contracts are for 6 months there is a clause allowing us to dispense with them with one week‘s notice in the first three months.
I am a contractor myself who had a long period out of work last year also, so I can sympathise.
Whom Do I Pick
I am tempted to ‘lose‘ the girl who is three months pregnant as she would be unlikely to renew with us in four and a half month‘s time and the project is expected to last 18 months.
However, I would hate also to sack the two who are just back in work again after being out a long time. I know that they are still in severe financial difficulty and one has had his house repossessed.
However, the one who isn‘t pregnant and who is not in any financial difficulty is our best and contractor with the most experience.
I feel awful about this decision.
What would you do Dr. McLaughlin?
Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery
There’s no real sacking dilemma for you. I think that you actually know what to do. It is just that you hate having to do it.
The guy who is your best contractor is a shoo-in. He has to get one of the two places. You can‘t get rid of your best guy because of feeling sympathy towards others.
Then, it is quite simple. You pick the best of the other 3.
The pregnancy one is a more difficult one. Let‘s assume that she is your second best contractor, as you appear to be suggesting, reading between the lines.
She will see out the remaining four and a half months of her contract. You don‘t know that the others will renew anyway.
She might also have interest in coming back after a short break for her pregnancy.
I might well take her if she is the second best.
That way you will have the best and the second best people for the job over the next four and a half months and that is all that they have a contract for anyway.
When it comes to the time when she leaves, the chances are that you might be able to find someone as good to replace her.
Out of Work
I have a great deal of sympathy for the others as they have been out of work for so long.
What I would suggest to you is that you take the decision as quickly as possible so that you can give then as much notice as possible.
See if you could give them four weeks notice (even if 3 of those are unofficial). That would give them a fighting chance to get another contract. One week‘s notice gives them no chance. You owe them that, and an extra 3 weeks for 2 contractors isn‘t going to decimate the budget.
Tell them also that if they find a job during the 4 weeks that they can go straight away.
It will be tough for them and you‘ll feel bad.
However, you‘d feel pretty bad kicking out your best two contractors, one of whom is pregnant just out of sympathy for the other two.
They wouldn‘t deserve this.
There’s no sacking dilemma.
You know what needs to be done, so now do it – as quickly as possible.
That‘s what management is all about.