Can I sack poor performer and re-employ for less?

Hi Aunty B,


I’m a long time reader, first time writer 🙂 I have an (expensive) staff member who was employed in an operational role, but I’m not seeing the ROI.  This person has gained a fair bit of knowledge about our company and therefore moving them on would mean I would need to start all over again.


I have her focusing on driving sales at the moment, because at least that way I can more tangibly see the ROI in them.  I’ve cut her days down to help conserve cash, but I know that I can achieve more for the same money with two or three part-time sales people. But I’d have to start from scratch with new staff and you don’t really know what you’re getting.  


Firing her is a concern because a former manager we had hired-and-fired really unsettled the whole company – I feel this may make everyone nervous again if I do that.

So, can I fire them from the operational role and employ them (at a reduced salary) in a straight sales role?  What are the legal implications with doing this?  If this is possible it may help everyone, as I won’t feel so concerned about their high salary, they get to keep their job, and I wouldn’t have to start from scratch with a replacement (or two).





Dear Stevie,


Great to hear from you. Look, there are entrepreneurs the country over with this dilemma. as we keep answering variations of this question.


Yes, you can tell the poor ROI performer that they are being removed from one role and put into another role where they receive less money as their duties have been downgraded. However, the employee can see this as a termination of their initial employment contract and can therefore claim redundancy entitlements.


On the other hand, they may feel out of their depth, realise you are unhappy with their ROI, be happy to take a lesser salary and stay on.


But will you truly be happy with their performance in this new role? Are you sure they can do it? The last thing you want is to move them around the company and then be forced to let them go.

You might be better biting the bullet, doing a lot of work with the team to ensure they are not unsettled, and look for some fresh talent. There are some good people available, either working at your competitors or who have been tossed out of a badly run company who could be available.


Good luck,

Your Aunty B.


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