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Hiring / Firing News 5/2/12

‘Hire slowly, fire quickly’

One of my regular guests, Phil Town, author of the book “Rule #1,” has offered us the following advice many times on the show:

“Hire slowly, fire quickly.”

Training employees is expensive, so if you’re going to go through the effort make sure you’re doing it with the right person (hence, “hire slowly”). And paying for an employee who is not doing his job well is costly too, so get rid of them as soon as possible (hence, “fire quickly”).

Phil is very clear that he does not believe in giving workers many chances (if any at all).

If you’ve been in this situation yourself, you know it’s easier said than done.

In a small business, people often work so closely that they become like family. So when it’s time to lay people off, the employer may have very intimate knowledge of how this will change that individual’s life — how they may have trouble paying their mortgage, or their child’s school tuition expenses.

Or it could be even simpler than that — the employer may just like the employee personally, or perhaps the employer is worried about how firing someone will change the dynamic of the workplace.

Because of the state of the economy, there are a lot of qualified people out there looking for jobs. Multiple guests have said on “Your Business” that this is the time to swap out people. If you have someone on your team who is not performing as well as you think he should, replace that person. People are available right now, and they’re going cheap.

I recently had a long conversation with someone who was struggling with this issue. On the one hand, he knows that he could probably find someone better than the person he has to fill one particular position. On the other hand, he feels terrible about the idea of laying someone off in this economy.

He said that, as a business person, he knows that he should focus on his company, not his employee’s personal situation, but that as a person with a heart, he cannot help but care about someone who has worked for him for the past year.

For the time being, he’s decided not to replace that employee. He’s going to give that individual a chance and hopes that with some more training and managing, she will do a better job.

I know that Phil Town would say that he’s making a mistake. I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Are you struggling with the same issue? Send me your thoughts.

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