It’s a lot more gratifying when you hire the right people, then develop them. And in the unfortunate situation where you are ending that relationship, doing it well will let you sleep a lot better at night. - IMAGE: tadamichi via GettyImages.com

It’s a lot more gratifying when you hire the right people, then develop them. And in the unfortunate situation where you are ending that relationship, doing it well will let you sleep a lot better at night.

IMAGE: tadamichi via GettyImages.com

Hiring, developing, and retaining great employees must be at the top of your organization’s key strategy list. And firing the right people for the right reasons at the right time, must also be part of that strategy. 

When you onboard that new employee you just hired, you’re investing time and you have a plan that isn’t just about filling out paperwork and doing a tour, it’s about setting up your hire to succeed.

Think about it. Can you imagine any other single strategy that matters more or is a better value proposition for long-term success than having the right talent on board? Everyone has customers, people who are served, who purchase, or in some way utilize and/or interact with your organization for mutually beneficial purposes. Every hire and fire will reverberate in some way that touches the people you are in the business to serve. The impact could be minor, or it could make or break your organization.

When I’m discussing painful staffing issues with people who supervises the work of others, there are some things I often hear:

  • We didn’t take our time in hiring him, and now we have a toxic mess.
  • She was a top performer, but she left after less than a year because she said she never felt welcome here.
  • I’ve been so worried about how and when to fire him, I haven’t slept well for weeks.        

If any of these pain points sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. These are very real challenges for leaders everywhere. Without a doubt, it is in everyone’s best interests to ensure your hiring, retainment, and dismissal processes are aligned and up to date. 

I’m a big believer in preventing the accident rather than trying to stop the bleeding after it’s happened. When we hire properly, firing is rarely an issue. When we dismiss employees properly, lawsuits and other negative outcomes are rarely an issue. In the life of an employee, like any good story, there must be an arc with a great beginning, a satisfying experience in the middle, and finally, an appropriate and meaningful ending — regardless of the outcome. 

The employee story or arc has three parts: acquisition (hiring), retention (nurturing), closure (dismissing). When we hire, we need to look far beyond the resume and the interview. We need to dig into eight factors or attributes far deeper than is common practice in most organizations: attitude, brains, character, drive, emotional intelligence, fit, gut (yours, not theirs), and heart. Examining each of these factors, when done well, will tell you far more about the whole person you are considering — and they all matter!

When you onboard that new employee you just hired, you’re investing time and you have a plan that isn’t just about filling out paperwork and doing a tour, it’s about setting up your hire to succeed. When you find yourself in a layoff or firing situation, follow these five “be’s” to do it right: be truthful, be fair, be clear, be respectful, and be smart. These five behaviors, actions, and processes will prevent some of the inevitable pain, and they will often help you close the employment relationship with more grace and less fallout.

It’s not easy being a leader, I know. It’s a lot more gratifying when you hire the right people for the right jobs at the right time, then develop them. And in the unfortunate situation where you are ending that relationship, doing it well and with grace will let you sleep a lot better at night.

Roxi Bahar Hewertson is a leadership expert, executive coach, and organizational development expert with more than three decades of practical experience in the worlds of higher education, business, and non-profits. She is the CEO of Highland Consulting Group, Inc. and author of Hire Right, Fire Right: A Leader’s Guide To Finding And Keeping Your Best People and Lead Like it Matters. 

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