If you’re responsible for direct reports, then you’ve heard the hire slow and fire fast statement. Yea, you may have even heard that from me over the years. Before you actually pull the trigger, I’d like to ask you to consider a few things.
If you are hiring a CEO, then please read one of my other articles. That’s a different set of thoughts than what I’ve outlined in this one. If that’s not you, then keep reading.
Should Management Be Fired First?
I am a huge proponent that you make sure that management has done their jobs right before firing someone. Firing someone who’s had a poor manager or having been managed by a poor set of systems and processes is like knowing your car is nearly out of gas and getting on a turnpike and blaming someone else for not putting gas in the car. It’s a recipe for failure and disappointment. Who’s really responsible?
In assessing an organization, I would interview key employees. One of the questions centered around their understanding of their job description. I was always curious to learn how close the description is to what they really do. It was alarming how many employees didn’t have one or if they did, it didn’t relate to their job functions.
Accurate Job Descriptions and Orientation Steps
One of the very basics is to have a current job description that properly matches what you want the employee to do. This is a guidepost to not only their performance but setting expectations. It is also the baseline of a performance review.
The start of creating a good or even great employee is when they are new. In the interview, you may have said how great your company is and how well everyone gets along. As soon as the new employee is unleashed into your business, the realities are exposed. Old employees will tell new ones the strangest things.
Make sure the new employee receives a proper orientation. They are already dealing with a new job, a new way to drive to work, and a host of other stress issues. Make it easy for them to assimilate into the business. Show them the lay of the land. Introduce them to all the key players. You might even consider not having them perform in the role until they get settled in.
Every new hire needs to be frequently evaluated. You want to make course corrections early on, so you do not allow bad habits to settle in. Also, be cautious about the volume of pointing out the negatives. You have to find successes and highlight the positive behaviors to help with the new hire’s phycological well being.
In the orientation, offer a dedicated systemic feedback system. Depending on your cultural issues, this needs to be in a formal and informal style. What you want to create is an open communication process where this employee can ask questions or verify certain systems or procedures.
Was there enough coaching to bring them along? Did we hire them for the wrong position, and could they be better doing something else for us? Should we set them free? All these kinds of questions need to be asked before you fire.
Why Did You Wait to Fire Someone?
Normally, when you decide to let someone go, it came after a long time of evaluating and talking, and well, it can become exhausting. If you think you should have fired someone months ago, you are probably right. Why didn’t you?
Firing fast is all about making the decisions you should have made. But it should always come after you’ve made an honest evaluation of whether or not you and the management team have done their jobs right.