Concerning your painting business, I read once that if you keep talking about an employee to your spouse over dinner, then it’s time to fire that person. I used to do that. I used to believe that I could change someone and that if I tried this or that eventually that person would come around. You just can’t force a square peg into a round hole. I regret the time wasted with that belief. Many times I should have fired someone faster than I did.
When you come to the conclusion that the company and the employee just aren’t made for each other, the sooner you fire the better. The sooner the better for you and the sooner the employee is relieved the sooner that that painter gets a new job, and quite possibly a better match for that painter and a different company.
When I fire someone it’s usually because they don’t follow either the company policy or they don’t follow directions. Either way, they should be warned one time, then twice, the third strike and that painter is out.
My policy is to make it fast and clean. Don’t let it drag on because you are afraid to be a bad person. Don’t apologize, or indicate that you will change your mind. You’ll know pretty soon that the thing was the right thing to do, when the other employees relate what they feel. Sometimes the other employees will come forth and start telling you all the bad things that the other person did. That always makes me crazy; I can never understand why they would let someone hurt the company, except that they are afraid of being a stool pigeon.
Also, people don’t change, if the are capable, it would take years, and you are running a small business. Do you have enough money to be a counseling business?