The 2017 Hire Fast – Fire Faster Program

The 2017 Hire Fast – Fire Faster Program

Being able to effectively hire and fire the right people are essential skill sets that every Team Leader, Manager, and Executive needs to develop. This is also why the development of those skills sets are included in my Leadership Development and Executive Development Coaching Programs.

  1. Hiring the right people. No BIG surprise here.  Hiring the right employees that have the necessary skill set to do their initial job, but also have the attitude and potential to be members of a High Performance Team (Core Employees), capable of helping to take the organization to the next level is essential for any organization committed to Continuous Operational Performance Improvement (C.O.P.I.©) in 2017 and beyond.
  2. Firing the wrong people. While finding and hiring the right people is hard, getting rid of the wrong employees – The Walking Dead- is even more difficult for most Team Leaders, Managers, and Executives.

And yet how to hire the right employees and fire the wrong employees isn’t a mystery.

I have been assisting Team Leaders, Managers and Executives develop these skill sets for over 30 years. Based on that experience, I’m sharing my top eight hiring and firing tips that are guaranteed to improve any organization.

1.  A Better Way to Find Employees. 

The best new hires – the ones that stick around and do the job – are through referrals from your Core Employees.  A referral from a Core Employee is a vetted referral. Core Employees make sure the referral is the kind of person who will not embarrass them by acting like one of The Walking Dead when they are hired. If at least 50% of new hires are not coming from your Core Employees, you need to find out why.  Hint: Develop a reward plan for Core Employees that reflects how important good referrals are to the organization.

2.  Keep the Pipeline Full. 

Most Companies only start the hiring process when there is a vacancy. Wrong!

The Hiring Process needs to be ongoing based on the rate of turnover, the shrinking labor pool and the amount of time it takes to find the right employee–one who has the potential to be a member of a High-Performance Team of Core Employees.

To more effectively meet the need for new Employees, you need to:

  1. Determine the rate of turnover per job per quarter by examining the last three years of turnover data; and
  2. Determine how many of The Walking Dead are in the organization (yes, the organization does have The Walking Dead – at least 20% of the workforce qualify).

Based on these numbers–plus an additional 10% to cover the unforeseen “got a better offer” vacancy:

  1. Develop a Hiring Forecast for each quarter for each position; and
  2. Start interviewing and don’t stop until there is a year’s worth of high-quality Employees who can be hired when needed.

This process eliminates the dreaded “desperation hiring” that takes places when there is an unexpected vacancy and is one way The Walking Dead infiltrate an organization. And finally, it helps Team Leaders, Managers, and Executives to eliminate The Walking Dead in a more expeditious fashion.

A story to illustrate this last point:

While implementing my Continuous Operational Performance Improvement Program (C.O.P.I.©) at a metal service center client, I held a meeting with three, night shift Supervisors/Team Leaders who, on average, had 20 years employment with the company. I asked them to break their teams into three categories: Core Employees (those who are High Performance), the “Coachables” (those who could become Core Employees) and The Walking Dead (those who should have been fired yesterday).

Five minutes later their lists had been compiled (if you really want to know who The Walking Dead are, ask the Supervisors/Team Leaders). When I asked one Supervisor/Team Leader why he had placed an employee in The Walking Dead category, he stated the employee took every Monday and Friday off work. This was a violation of the company’s attendance policy and grounds for termination.

When I asked him why he didn’t fire this Walking Dead, he said “It’ll take HR six months to find a replacement! I would rather be short handed two days a week rather than five days a week for six months!” The other two Supervisors/Team Leaders nodded in agreement.

The moral of this story: If the organization truly wants to improve, it needs its Supervisors/Team Leaders/ Managers/Executives to stop tolerating and quickly get rid of The Walking Dead! But, the reality is they will not do that if, in the process, it hurts the operation and the Team. Having qualified replacement employees available through an improved Hiring Process makes terminating The Walking Dead easier and the organization better. Just do it!

3.  Stop Letting HR Do the Hiring!

While HR should do the pro forma hiring stuff (background checks, filling out employment forms, etc.), the hiring of a new employee should primarily be done by the Core Employees who will be the new Employee’s Teammates. Core Employees are much better at recognizing both potential Core Employees and The Walking Dead in the interviewing process than HR ever will be.

By using Team Hiring, the odds are good The Walking Dead will not get hired and potential Core Employees will be hired. Of course, Core Employees need to be properly trained so they can do the hiring job well but including Core Employees in the hiring process will increase their satisfaction, as well as the chances for better hiring. A definite Win-Win for the Company!

4.  Hire for Attitude!

Few jobs in the Information Economy require a very specific skill set. What Information Economy jobs do require is an Employee Attitude that accepts Continuous Operational Improvement–showing up every day, staying until the job is done and being a productive member of a High-Performance Team as a required part of the job.

Develop “The Ideal Employee Profile” and you will see the technical requirements of most jobs rank low on the list of what it takes to be a Core Employee. Use “The Ideal Employee Profile” to Hire for Attitude, and then Train for Aptitude!

5.  Remove HR as an Obstacle to a Righteous Firing.

HR can be an unwarranted obstacle Team Leaders/Supervisors/Managers/Executives have to overcome to get rid of The Walking Dead. While HR should serve as a watchdog to make sure employees are treated fairly, once a Team Leader/ Supervisor/ Manager/Executive has been properly trained in Performance Improvement techniques and understands the established policies governing employee behavior, HR then needs to get out of the way when a Supervisor can objectively document the need to terminate an employee. HR needs to investigate and corroborate, but should not attempt to intervene in the process if the established policies (i.e. progressive discipline) have been followed.

Team Leaders/Supervisors/Managers/Executives who are thwarted by the HR “give them a third final chance” syndrome–in their legitimate attempts to rid the company of a non-performing employee–become frustrated and, rather than fight with HR, just accept the fact they are stuck with non-performers. Team Leaders/Supervisors/Managers/Executives should be encouraged to upgrade their Team, not tolerate The Walking Dead who are anchors that prevent the development of High-Performance Teams.

 Replace the Traditional Trial Period with a Transition Period.

Have you noticed how much harder employees work during their Trial Period when qualifying for the job? And how there is a dip in performance once the trial period ends?

A Traditional Trial Period–with a defined beginning and end–generates the following mindset: “Once I complete the trial period, and have the job, I can relax and expend less effort doing the job than I expended getting the job.” This mindset cannot be tolerated if the Team the new employee is on is a High-Performance Team – and shouldn’t all the Teams be High Performance? By replacing the Traditional Trial Period with a Transition Period, the Trial Period mindset is negated.

The Transition Period (the length may vary with each job), like the Traditional Trial Period. allows the employee an opportunity to signal if they can do the job and fit into the company’s culture. At this point, the similarity between the Transition Period and the Traditional Trial Period ends.

In the Transition Period every employee, before successfully completing the Transition Period, is informed by their Team Leader/Supervisor/Manager that, instead of “relaxing”, they should only be starting to hit their productive stride. It is essential this conversation occurs while the employee is still working hard to get the job since physics and common sense tells us that “a body in motion will remain in motion”!

By ensuring the new employee knows the Team Leader and the Team’s expectations of them and begins to understand what he/she must do to help achieve the Team Objectives through individual and team Continuous Operational Performance Improvement (C.O.P.I.©), the Team Leader/Supervisor/Manager sets the stage for the employee’s Continuous Performance Improvement.

Thanks for reading my blog and all comments – good or bad – are welcome.

I could be wrong…but I’m usually not. Your comments and opinions could make me decide if I’m wrong this time.  So, am I wrong?

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