This is a continuation of last week's post. Read that before starting this one. I will use he throughout, but of course mean he/she.
If we hire slowly and do our homework before inviting someone to join us, we will be firing less. When we do need to fire someone, it could very well be our own fault. That might come as a shock to you, but give it a fair hearing. The first step in firing is to do a better job of hiring.
It has been my experience that when the time has clearly come to make the tough decision to let a person go, we seldom take personal responsibility as the boss for the person not performing well. It is a two way street!
Here are a few things to consider before bringing a person on:
Has this person demonstrated (with you or someone whose opinion you trust) proven performance in the area of the job responsibilities? Don’t pick/hire a person based on personality, promise or potential but on proven performance.
Are you convinced the prospective hire knows how to organize and focus himself in order to work productively?
Does he have God-given capacity to do this job? Do the job responsibilities fit his experience and gifting?
Does this person have the ability (as far as you can tell) to grow with the job? Hire him to do what the job will evolve into over the next year or two rather than what it currently is so you won’t have to find another person when the role expands. Think long-term not short-term.
Have you made the job responsibilities clear? These should deal with expected outcomes as opposed to a list of activities the person is doing.
Have you communicated what authority you are giving him to make certain decisions?
Assuming you have done your homework on the front end before the hire, here are additional ideas on helping the person be successful in their new role:
Together, set agreed-upon goals based on the job responsibilities, authority and expected outcomes.
When the individual is doing well, affirm and recognize his good work. I have never met someone who complained he was encouraged too much.
When he is not doing as expected, coach him as you try to discover why it is not going well.
Be sure to document poor performance, letting him know it is serious and could be grounds for termination if you don’t see adequate improvement.
Offer training when it would help him in being successful. When training is not effective, think in terms of transferring him to another spot within the organization, with responsibilities that better fit who God made him to be. If there is no place to which he can be transfered, and as a last resort, terminate him.
Terminate in such a way that the person is helped in taking next steps. Don’t kick him to the curb and wash your hands of him. He should not be surprised he was let go, but rather should see it coming. He has a right to know why he was let go so he can learn from the experience and do better in his next role. Check back after a while to see how he is doing.
Admittedly this is not comprehensive. There is a lot more that could be said. The subject matter on this topic is enough for a book if there isn't already one. What I've said in these two posts is a start in helping us do better as Christian leaders in both hiring and firing.