Its not a pretty sight. A co-worker is on the verge of being fired. All the signs are there. You can see them, but you wonder if your co-worker is aware. Should you give them a heads up and offer advice? Its a sticky situation.
If you have built the level of trust that allows you to have a compassionate and honest conversation with your co-worker about your concerns, then definitely have the conversation. It is the kind action to take and gives them the opportunity to choose how they want their future to go, explains employment mediator and attorney Nance L. Schick of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick.
But since you are not in charge of hiring and firing, keep in mind you are only giving your opinion. Remember that unless you are in a position to make the termination decision, you are only speculating. So, be mindful of your language, notes Schick. Dont accuse your co-worker of anything such as poor work or laziness. Use specific examples of what hasnt worked for your employer with other employees. For example, say something to the effect of I am a little worried that you might get fired, and I really like working with you. I dont know the complete circumstances of your situation or others like it, but I have seen people get fired for taking supplies, rounding up their work hours, gossiping, disclosing client or company information, etc. Is there something going on? Is there anything I can do to help or support you so that we get to keep working together?
You might also want to advise them to have a talk with management. If you truly want them to maintain their employment, encourage them to initiate a conversation with their leader to identify the issue(s) and the solutions. Empower them to be proactive and communicate that they have the desire to stay employed and be an integral part of the team, adds Sandy Crosby, director of Business Development at ThinkGREAT90, which offers corporate coaching, personal development and other services.
Offering your help and guidance may be necessary as well. On a brighter note, sometimes the genuine partnership of a co-worker can make a huge difference for an employee who is struggling, offers Schick. Often, you will find that your co-worker has distractions at home and needs someone with experience at your workplace to help create an action plan for success, despite the challenges. They might not know about employee benefits that could help them, or sometimes they just need a friend to make the work more enjoyable. By reaching out, you could gain more enjoyment, too. There are no guarantees, of course, but its probably worth taking a carefully planned risk.