Business Assistance Scenario: Seeking Guidance for Performance Issues and Termination


The Background

Hasan and Amanda have co-owned and managed a boutique digital marketing agency for over 10 years. With a small, tight-knit group of five employees, the agency provides strategic marketing and social media services to a variety of clients. Seven months ago, they hired their newest employee, Pierre, to help with increasing client requests for SEO guidance. Pierre had previously been a freelance SEO Specialist for several years. His expertise in this field, combined with his experience working in a client-based environment made him a perfect fit for the role.

The Problem

When it comes to his work, Pierre has been a rockstar from the start—going above and beyond what’s expected of him and delivering the results that clients are looking for. On the other hand, both Amanda and Hasan have heard rumblings about interpersonal issues stemming from Pierre. One employee mentioned to Amanda in passing that Pierre doesn’t seem to be a team player, often disregarding his fellow employees’ input and becoming domineering group settings. Another employee came to her with a complaint regarding insensitive remarks Pierre has made about a fellow colleague’s performance.

After hearing of these incidents, which aren’t conducive to the positive, healthy working environment that the agency has become known for, both Amanda and Hasan sit down with Pierre to discuss his behaviour. They begin working with him on a performance improvement plan and over the next several weeks, things seemed to be getting better. That is, until a long-time client approaches Hasan to note that while Pierre is great at his work, his demeanour is condescending, making the client feel belittled for their lack of SEO knowledge. They request that Pierre not be assigned to work with them in the future.

The Solution

Not only is Pierre’s behaviour a violation of the agreed performance improvement plan—it has almost cost the agency a major client. Hasan and Amanda agree that despite his talent, Pierre’s lack of respect for others makes it impossible to continue his employment. Having never terminated an employee before, they’re unsure of what steps to take next, until Amanda recalls that with the Arete business supports offered through their provider, they have direct access to the Healthy Business Bookmark™ (HBB).

Hasan visits the site and finds some helpful samples and a guide on employee termination. While letting an employee go is always difficult, both Amanda and Hasan feel more prepared now that they’re armed with the supports and knowledge they need to proceed.

The Outcome

During his visit to HBB, Hasan discovers a treasure trove of articles and resources that will benefit their business, including templates that will help them streamline the process of hiring a new SEO Specialist when the time comes. He also comes across a course in The Arete e-Catalogue that he plans to have the entire team attend—a step toward improving their relationships and continuing to build a healthy, happy workplace.

Both Hasan and Amanda now check HBB regularly, whether they’re looking for specific supports or a little business inspiration.



Resource Connection

If you have access to HBB/SES through your provider, check these resources out today!

  • Managing Challenging (but Talented) Individuals
  • Individual Performance Improvement Plan Sample
  • Guide for Terminations and Workforce Reduction
  • Effective Team Dynamics (The Arete eCatalogue)


Note: This fictional scenario is inspired by real business issues that can be solved through Arete’s Acumin® Business Assistance Program and is not associated with any Arete client or the testimonial provided above.

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