Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Slow Hire, Quick Fire

Anyone in charge of his or her own business who is not familiar with the term ‘slow hire, quick fire’ needs to let it sink in right away. On the surface it seems rather self-explanatory and just good common sense, but internalizing the mechanisms behind why this practice is so fundamentally important can often be overlooked. Below are a few key points to focus on when you may be forced to pull the trigger on any major personnel decision as well as a brief examination behind the rationale for each practice.

The Slow Hire

Every hiring decision is an investment. The idea needs to be that the return from their productivity exceeds the outlay to keep them on board – there is no point hiring someone who doesn’t make your company more valuable than it already is. Like a poker player sitting at the table, there is the old adage that you cannot lose what you don’t put in the middle. Hiring someone should feel like putting chips in the middle knowing that you can take down the hand. If you’re bluffing and praying for your card to land on the river you’ll find yourself short-stacked in no time.

Here are some points to consider before hiring:

1) Don’t let yourself feel pressured by time – A savvy manager will see the need coming down the road long before there is any urgency to actually hire someone. If you’re hiring someone just because you need someone right away there’s a strong possibility you’re not hiring the right fit for the position, but someone who is comfortable being the company silver medal.

2) If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t – It can sometimes feel like the only option available is hiring the least bad candidate. There is nothing wrong with holding out for something better. The right person is out there, and sometimes it’s just a matter of possessing enough resolve to wait it out until they come along.

3) Can someone become the right candidate? – Sometimes you might find yourself with candidates that don’t immediately possess the needed expertise or experience required to fill a position, but may possess certain intangibles, such as the right drive and motivation that can make them an asset to your company. Always keep in mind that it’s easier to train someone how to complete a particular task than it is to train him or her to care about what they’re doing.

The Quick Fire

If someone is dead weight, they’ve got to go. It’s fine to be patient with someone who is still developing the requisite competencies to do their job, but if someone doesn’t have the right attitude, or fails to demonstrate the proper level of motivation that you demand from your employees, don’t wait around hoping they will change. There are plenty of eager people who don’t need to constantly have carrots dangled in front of them who would probably do a great job if given the chance.

Here are some points to consider before firing:

1) Is it even a job that still needs doing? – It’s not uncommon for employees, brought on to complete a particular task, to hang around long after they’ve become redundant. It’s never easy, but explaining that their services are no longer required can sometimes make long-term sense and might be in the best interest of your company.

2) Are they spinning their wheels? – The guy who comes to work every day, does nothing, and collects his pay just the same as the guy who works his butt off, is an all too common occurrence in many work environments. It’s one thing to streamline one’s workflow to optimize productivity allowing for more free time, it’s another to create free time at the expense of productivity. And as great as it is to come to work feeling relaxed, it’s a wholly other thing to show up at work in order to relax.

3) Are they a vampire? – Sometimes what can hurt a company has little to do with the specific competencies of its respective employees and can come down to a single employee’s bad attitude. Nothing can be more damaging to team morale than one person putting his or herself ahead of everyone else. There is no place for someone who sucks the life out of your company.