There is an age-old employer adage of “hire slowly, fire quickly." The hire slowly component argues that hiring selections should be made to carefully complement the company's culture. And the fire quickly component argues that if an employee proves to be a poor fit, he or she should be removed as quickly as possible.
It is a poignant consideration, but I have seen many an entrepreneur execute it poorly, pulling the fire trigger far too soon. The cost? Great potential being pushed out the door.
To maximize the likelihood of employee and corporate success, employers may want to consider hiring slowly and firing even slower. Hiring slowly can start with selecting potential employees based on their cultural fit with your company. Consider basing your decision on attitude, energy, intelligence—all the intangibles. While you can offer an employee experience, you cannot force a cultural fit.
Too often, when an employee does not exhibit immediate perfection in his role, termination is seen as the first solution. Instead, think about allowing your employee every opportunity to excel. Hiring and firing slowly can be for their best interest, and yours, too.
Consider Their Objectives, Then Yours
When you hire new employees, show them how your business goals align with their personal objectives. As business owners and entrepreneurs we have our own distinct goals, from serving clients to achieving financial freedom to living our passion. But when employees come on board, they may not be in alignment with those needs. Yes, they want to better the company, but they want to better themselves, too.
When you find someone who is a good cultural fit for the business, try to determine his or her objectives from the get-go. What are their personal goals? What are their lifetime goals, and how can the business support them?
By understanding these visions from the beginning, you can have something to return to at the first indication that the employee may not be living up to their potential. Directing employees into roles that fulfill their personal goals can help reinvigorate your relationships with them and boost their enthusiasm for the position.
Recognition, Recognition, Recognition
Managers may be too quick to discipline their employees. It can be more effective to encourage the areas they excel in and acknowledge where they struggle.
When praising employees, consider doing so publicly. But if you have to take disciplinary measures, do so in private. This is the methodology of “pat them on the back, kick them in the behind and pat them on the back again."
The Right Role
The price of firing an employee can be high. Once that employee is gone, their knowledge and everything they have gained goes out the door with them and the training process must start again with a new employee.
First consider, is the employee serving the right role? Is he or she in the right position? If not, can we change that? By exhausting all other measures, you can avoid the costs of retraining someone new unless it is absolutely necessary.
Team Up for the Solution
If the issue is still not resolved, it may be time to sit down with your employee. This can be an opportunity for the employee to propose a solution and set personal goals for themselves. Then, if they fail to complete this action plan, they can be let go because of their own inability to fulfill his own objectives.
Although the original saying tells us to “hire slowly, fire quickly," doing so can come at a cost and can limit the potential of employees. You may want to invest more time into finding individuals that fit the company culture and then align with their interests to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
When things are not working, consider taking the time to make it work. Only once an employee fails to meet the explicit goals they have set for themselves should you consider going separate ways.
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