While doing some reading today, I ran across a phrase that I have not heard in several years. The phrase goes like this. “Hire slow, fire fast.” I believe I understand the conventional wisdom that underscores this phrase. But, I have to be honest and say that last part of the phrase troubles me. I believe supervisors and managers sometimes resort to firing an employee to cover what was a poor hiring decision. And when that happens, it demonstrates another kind of failure that I hope to speak more to in future posts.
Interestingly enough, as I was reading, I ran across someone who used this very phrase to suggest that firing could be used for “fixing” bad hiring decisions. So. I am taking a poll. What’s your best guess as to the percentage of fired employees who are really fired because of a poor hiring process or decision by the employer? Also, if you have any research links on this, I would love to see them. Here’s a second question for you. Under what conditions might an employee termination be the correct step to take for addressing a bad hire?
Anytime someone is called into their manager’s office or told to meet their manager in HR, I have to think there is a sinking feeling in their gut. I happen to have witnessed this sinking feeling on the faces and in the words of employees who were being terminated when I worked in Human Resources. Communicating bad news like this is routinely unpleasant. But as unpleasant as this must be for managers or those who have worked in HR, it is inconsequential to the impact it has on employees hearing the words, “you are fired.” I don’t believe there is ever a “good” way to deliver such news and I am aware of all those experts out there recommending when and how to deliver such bad news. Recently, however, I was reading accounts of employees who have been fired by email and other poorly considered approaches, But one that takes the cake for me goes back a few years and involves a manager who appears to have fired one of his employees by Fax. Yes! You heard me right–by fax. It’s hard for me to fathom how this manager could come to the conclusion that this was a good way to communicate such bad news. I believe that firing is always a failure of one type or another and will develop this in further posts. This case, however, is near-epic in its failure to show any dignity or respect to the employee. Even bad employees still need to be treated with respect and this act demonstrated very little, as I understand the facts of the event.
Unfortunately, I suspect there are other examples out there and would love to hear from those former employees. If you know of someone, point them to this blog. Help me tell stories that need to be told and need to be told. Thanks.
I have been thinking about this blog for years and only now have finally decided to put it online. Over a number of years, I have been in a position to see a lot of people who have lost their jobs—either through a reduction in force or just being fired. I would like to use this blog to open a dialogue with others about the termination process as they experienced it. I am now retired but remain very interested in how such decisions are made and most importantly, the impact it has on those who are let go or fired.
As such, I am interested in hearing from persons who have been dismissed, let go, termed, sacked, laid off or whatever words or phrases were used to tell someone they were fired. I think there are a lot of stories out there that need to be told and would like to be a voice for telling some of those stories. If this interests you, please post your comments or send me an email. I have lots of questions and suspect you may have lots of answers.