Fired! : A How to Manual

Humans remain the most valuable capital in corporate organizations today. A human is an unbound resource with infinite potential. Our minds are power houses of energy and our bodies are capable of the greatest finesse. We are just at the start of understanding the true complexity of our own lives. And yet, there is a trend in the wrong direction of how we treat one another in a business setting. When we treat each other how we wish to be treated we do best. We need a new revolution of believers who understand that human capital is not something you hire and fire like bets in a poker game. You are not making financial bets, you are taking the energy and time of another human and asking them to use their time for your agenda. You must respect the person who has chosen to go along with you.

When you make a decision to hire you must feel sure you are getting the correct person for the job. If you hire someone unsuited, you have failed at leadership and it is your fault, not theirs. Your task was to find the person most suited and you failed. Now what do you do? Your last option is to fire them! Why? Because this will cost you and your goals. The only time it won’t is if the worker is dishonest and intentionally harming your company. In that instance, fire them. Otherwise hold on, find training, find a mentor in the company, find a new task that better aligns with that person’s skills. Invest a little of your time on them because they have invested their time and energy on you, despite not performing the way you expected. Hiring should take time and firing shouldn’t happen.

A lot of successful corporations have no firing policies, and despite how unbelievable it seems, they perform at the top of their industries. Invest in human capital like you would invest in a retirement home. Only when the roof starts to cave in are you going to consider a new contract. Often times a leader needs to only make a few changes to their hiring policy to keep from firing. If the company is large, growing fast, and hiring is taking too much energy a well-qualified consultant can help with recruitment. Also consider slowing down work for a month to spend time filling the needed positions.

Remember, when you fire someone whose only harm was bad performance you are creating bad publicity. Also that person has insight into the work they are doing for you despite their performance, and often are the best person to advise you on who to replace them with.

If the person wants to leave but won’t quit, provide them an incentive to step down. A small severance payment can help the ball move. This will allow you to end the relationship on good terms.

Most of all, don’t fire them. You shouldn’t have to. You should spend at least two full work days looking into a potential hire. That’s two days of at least one person looking over files and information for each individual they see as a good candidate. This should be the case for all hiring, even those jobs we value less.

You need to know that the person you hire will like what they do, and you always want the best candidate you’re looking for. Screening candidates is a long process and it can take a great deal of resources, but the benefits far outweigh the losses. When hiring, take the time to know the person and think about how well they fit into your corporate culture. If a person is asking for the job, they are already showing a great deal of commitment, so take the time to show them respect and make the correct decision from the start.

Anthony is the president and founder of the Adirondack Leadership Institute (ALI). He has over a decade experience as an adult educator, IT professional, web developer, and consultant. He has helped thousands of non-profit organizations run their online operations, and consulted many on leadership skills that have helped companies save and grow. He has experience as a business leader and has managed the daily operations of a lucrative resort and retreat center in the Adirondack mountains. He is a licensed New York guide and has a growing Adirondack guide business. Anthony has a Masters in Education and a Masters in Leadership from Augsburg University. He has been a practicing Buddhist for over a decade and enjoys teaching his Buddhist lessons during ALI retreats.

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