Should You Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly?
Hire slowly, fire quickly. I have heard many business owners say this phrase recently. In my opinion, it’s not sound business advice.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I agree with parts of the principle behind the saying. However, I think many people misinterpret the meaning which leads them to make bad business decisions; decisions which are significantly costing their business.
Before you decide to apply hire slowly, fire quickly to your business, you need to understand the risks and why it might not be ideal.
To hire slowly means not to rush into having employees before your business is ready. This means that you should not hire before your company truly needs an employee and before your business can support that employee.
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If you hire before the time is right for your business, you are going to be spending money on an employee’s paycheck that you either cannot afford or is a wasted expense because you are not getting the needed return. You can significantly cost your business and even risk keeping the doors open.
However, when you don’t hire when your company needs help and can support the team member, you could be costing your business even more. This is because you’re not getting the help you need to support the current business levels, accept new business, or provide the expected customer service levels (Read: The True Cost of Not Hiring an Employee).
The truth is, if you wait until it’s painful to consider adding your first or next employee, you’re probably hiring too late. During the time you put off hiring, your business was suffering.
Therefore, it’s essential to correctly identify when it is the right time to hire an employee for your small business.
When business owners and managers practice the fire quickly methodology, they tend to let people go way too soon. This might be the first time the employee makes a mistake or when you realize that they are not meeting expectations.
The thought process is that if you get someone out quickly, you’ll get the right person in sooner.
However, there are two problems here.
First, time and money were spent hiring and training that employee. More time and money will then be allocated to hire their replacement.
In most cases, employees who deserve to be fired quickly are people who should have never been hired in the first place. Instead of depending on firing quickly, you need to learn how to identify the right people to bring on to your team throughout the hiring process.
Second, typically it is not the employee’s fault when they are fired quickly. The root cause comes from a lack of training or unclear or uncommunicated expectations. An employee cannot do their job correctly if they are never taught what it means to be correct from the business owners point-of-view.
Even experienced employees need to be trained and told expectations because they might highly differ from their previous company’s expectations.
Also, human make mistakes. Yes, an employee who continues to make the same mistakes even after the situation has been addressed should be let go. However, to fire on a first offense will often create an environment where no employee wants to work.
Instead of quickly firing an employee you need to identify why they did not perform to expectations and help fill the training gap.
It’s due to the unknown and fear
Most small business owners who follow hire slowly, fire quickly do so because they don’t know how to identify if it’s the right time to hire an employee, how to select the right person during the hiring process, or how to manage a successful team properly. These are not skills you can just know. They come from experience, education, and guidance.
The unknowns of management can create fear, and fear can hold you back from taking the right step at the right time.
It’s time to stop learning through trial and error. It’s time for you to get the guidance you need so you can learn how to hire and fire the right employees at the right time and everything else in-between so you can have the loyal and reliable employees you need for business growth and success.
Sign up for your free Hiring Jump-Start Session, and learn how to change your philosophy from Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly to Hire Right, Fire Smart.