Hire, Manage, Fire: How To Keep It All Win-Win

When the time comes for a business manager to let an employee know that the company wants to part ways, there are better methods than a brusque, “You’re fired,” pronouncement. Just as no one likes to learn that a significant other prefers someone else, employees are also often crushed to learn that an employer no longer appreciates their professional contributions. Sometimes, the jilted never fully recover.

Hiring

Job seekers who discover an encouraging want ad that seems to dovetail with their career goals become animated about the prospect of a new chapter in their life. They anticipate many beneficial developments from both a professional and personal viewpoint.

Hiring managers, though, make occasional mistakes with the process. They know more about the open position than anyone outside the business, so it’s their responsibility to make a strong connection.

Hiring with humanity requires due diligence. It means positioning people and their particular values at the forefront of all hiring decisions. Instead of selecting new employees by some misguided notion of collectivized culture fit, tech organizations must determine which personality types are best for each role and recruit accordingly, and then the culture will take care of itself better than any plan by a committee could ever accomplish.

It is imperative that tech businesses establish a dependable strategy. Specifically, hiring managers should rely on a process that includes:

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• Maintaining a consistent workflow with each applicant for an available position, from resume screening and background check to first contact and interview sessions.

• Making performance expectations unambiguous from the beginning.

• Being transparent about organizational rules and how they’re enforced.

• Dedicating adequate resources to onboarding.

Managing

Personal values often entail a sense of purpose. What people do with their day must matter to them and, from their perspective, to the community with which they surround themselves. While it’s not possible to give a sense of purpose to anyone, forward-thinking tech enterprises will remain transparent about their purpose in the market.

For many people, a job will eventually transform into a j-o-b. Anticipating disengagement is one of a business manager’s most important duties. Talent retention requires a dependable ecosystem of support and professional development within which employees can feel that they are thriving.

When an employee does disengage or their productivity otherwise slips, there are potential solutions that don’t involve firing. A performance improvement plan isn’t just a checkbox on the list of steps toward getting rid of someone who might be interested in turning things around. Attempts to make an employee so miserable at work that they choose to quit are unethical.

Termination should always be a last resort, taken only after all other possibilities of redress have been exhausted. The best way to preclude disengagement and related performance issues is by being proactive about understanding employee goals and helping them with their professional development efforts as follows:

• Allow an employee liberal autonomy so long as they keep delivering on tasks and exceeding expectations.

• Encourage all expressed desires for learning and growth.

• Demonstrate public displays of appreciation for the employee and their contributions.

• Ensure that all feedback happens as part of private conversations.

• Turn performance reviews into open-ended one-on-one dialogues that focus more on individual progress and less on comparisons with other employees.

• Support career aspirations even if they entail an eventual transfer out of their present role or out of the company altogether.

Whenever performance suffers, be sure to offer remedies instead of criticisms. Above all, don’t mince words. Be clear with the employee that their performance as it is will only jeopardize their future with the company. Emphasize a willingness to meet the employee halfway by offering to provide structure for their second chance.

Firing

Tech business managers shouldn’t be too quick to fire someone who isn’t meeting expectations. Then again, hesitating too long before letting someone go could be unfair to the employee. Decision-makers can make mistakes when it comes firing, and when they do, they leave the company open to lawsuits — or even to vengeful retaliation — and thereby risk their own job security.

When all else fails to engage an employee or impress upon them the seriousness with which the company regards their performance, managers need a reliable plan for the abandonment of remediation efforts and the beginning of an employment termination process. Here, too, it is important to remain both professional and sympathetic. The business must survive, as must the self-esteem of the departing individual.

Managers should arrive at the final meeting with a reference prepared for all employees who are not being terminated for reasons of unethical or illegal behaviour. Leave the ex-employee with no reasonable cause for acrimony. Offer an exit interview that allows the individual their own voice, and use information gathered from that interview to help revise the hiring process for future applicants. Nothing says, “Work here,” better than showcasing a legacy of respect for past employees.

In short, be humane with both hiring and firing and everything in between. Consider how much words matter. Perhaps new hires would be more comfortable if an initial probationary period was rephrased as a welcoming period — indeed, the very transitional process into or out of a business role could stand to become less urgent and more graceful.

The future of employment relationships lies in the concept of conscious hiring as a thoughtful method for minimizing risk and the possibility of eventual termination. If termination is unavoidable, be sure to have one or more good reasons.

The key to sustaining a healthy employment relationship for as long as possible is to go into it while already looking past the honeymoon phase. More importantly, when the love is gone, don’t string anyone along. Transparency in all internal matters is a hallmark of any leading employer.

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