Firing a team member (and hiring a new one) is a double-edged sword for senior living operations.

On one hand, cutting ties with an underperforming employee can be the first step toward a better customer experience, increased occupancy, and growing revenue.

On the other hand, a new employee is a big expense.

From sourcing talent to providing onboarding training, newcomers to your team can take a bite out of your budget.

According to a 2017 report from the Society for Human Resource Management, in 2016, the average cost-per-hire across a number of industries was $4,425.

And while your cost may be lower (or higher), one thing is for certain: replacing a sales team member isn’t something to take lightly.

That’s why…

Before you post a job ad for an opening, it’s important to assess your situation, consider the factors involved, and carefully make a decision.

Keep on reading this article, and discover how to do just that.

Not All Performance Challenges Are People Issues


business team that is analyzing

Whether you’re a CEO or a regional director, before you start drafting that job ad, be sure you ask an important question…

Is this a person issue or a support issue?

In other words, consider if the employee is underperforming because he or she lacks the skills and abilities needed to grow occupancy…or because he or she lacks the needed support.

Don’t get us wrong.

At Bild & Co, we’re far from advocating that you should trace poor top-line growth to poor support.

Underperforming sales counselors, sales directors, and even executive directors are far too common in our industry. Time and time again, we can trace low occupancy back to unprofessional talent.

However…

There are times when a salesperson isn’t completely responsible for lackluster numbers.

Perhaps a regional manager is busy putting out fires and doesn’t have enough time to provide targeted support.

Or maybe a sales director is struggling because the executive director has a polar-opposite vision for growth.

In other words, external factors can create issues.

In fact, we’d like to address one challenge that’s leading to problems for senior living operations and their employees…

Senior Living Job Responsibilities Are Undergoing a Shift

newspaper showing classified ads

Read a job ad for a senior living salesperson, and you’ll probably find a list of traditional responsibilities such as…

  • Growing occupancy.
  • Conducting tours.
  • Collaborating on events.

But the reality is…

The traditional sales role has morphed over time—as companies have had to learn to do more with less.

This often leads to roles being split or responsibilities added.

Perhaps in this last year, your operation has conducted several internal meetings, and you’ve begun to roll out new changes for your communities.

For instance, consider if your operation has begun to…

  • Maximize efficiency by adding additional responsibilities to salespeople.
  • Restructure the organization for better growth in the future.
  • Broaden its understanding of a salesperson’s role.

If you’ve suddenly noticed sales team performance has dipped, pay attention.

Your salespeople may struggle if their responsibilities aren’t black and white anymore.

They may find it difficult to reach goals if the job description they were hired for no longer fits their current responsibilities.

In reality, this isn’t the only external factor that can hamper performance. But before you fire an employee, create a job ad, or begin interviewing—it’s important to consider what organizational shifts impact your situation.

Pause and Reflect before Creating a Job Ad

sign telling drivers to slow

Before you decide to fire a salesperson, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the situation.

This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Simply block off 30 minutes of time to thoroughly assess your decision.

At Bild & Co, we’d encourage you to analyze three factors:

  1. Organizational changes
  2. Team member performance
  3. Cost analysis

Curious why these three areas deserve your attention?

To begin with, as we mentioned above, job responsibilities that have shifted deserve a second look.

It’s also important to pinpoint which specific changes have impacted your sales team member. Specificity is often the first step toward a solution.

Then, it’s important to examine team member performance. It’s possible organizational changes have contributed to the plummeting occupancy numbers. But then again, you may simply have a less-than-ideal team member in your ranks. It’s your job to find out.

Finally, you’ll want to analyze the costs involved in making your decision. Sometimes, firing a salesperson may seem like the best choice.

However, consider the possibility that your new hire will be even less qualified. Calculate how long the onboarding process will likely take.

It’s important to ensure the benefits of firing outweigh the drawbacks of hiring.

Below, we’ve listed some questions you can use during the decision-making process.

As you work through the questions, don’t look for a one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, carefully think through each consideration before coming to a conclusion.

Organizational Changes

  • Is my organization undergoing a shift, or is our company culture relatively stable?
  • Have these shifts affected this team member’s job responsibilities?
  • If so, which job responsibilities have changed?
  • Are we able to adapt our expectations for this team member?

Team Member Performance

  • Has this team member historically underperformed, or is this a new trend?
  • If we are undergoing a shift, does the salesperson’s job responsibilities match his or her job
  • description?
  • Does my employee have all the resources needed to succeed, or has he or she lacked access to support?

Cost Analysis

  • What would be the cost of hiring a new team member?
  • In contrast, what would be the cost of keeping this team member?
  • What will I gain by firing this salesperson?
  • What will I lose?

Look over these questions, but don’t work through them alone.

Feel free to share these with your colleagues and other decision-makers. Together, weigh the pros and cons as you seek a resolution.

Get Support for Making a Decision

When it comes to hiring decisions, it might be tricky to determine where a salesperson’s responsibilities end and external factors begin.

You don’t want to retain an underperforming salesperson.

But you don’t want to fire a team member that truly brings value to your operation.

If you’re looking for clarity, be sure to download our tip sheet below.

This free resource lists three scenarios where external factors can create a difficult environment for sales team success…