Uncommon sensical HR #1: Firing people
In a post to his blog last week, David Gammel wrote about firing people through email. I think most people will universally support the notion that such a practice is repugnant. What I want to comment on his is third reason why itâ€™s repugnant:
â€œIt is too easy for the firer. Firing should be a last resort outside of extreme cases. Sending an e-mail allows the executive to terminate someone in the abstract rather than facing them personally. You are more likely to make the right decision if you are willing to deliver the message to their face.â€
Each day this week, Iâ€™m unfurling an uncommon sensical HR policy. So my first uncommon sensical HR policy is to challenge the notion that firing be considered â€œa last resort.â€ I think firing someone is too hard in most organizations, and, as a result, managers keep employees that they think do the job adequately while secretly thinking the organization might be better off with someone different.
I think maybe there was a time when people showed real loyalty to their employer and maybe it was too much loyalty as companies can and did lay people off when under real or perceived financial distress . Now I wonder if the power dynamic has tilted too far in the other direction. People change jobs and employers much quicker and with more regularity than they used to, yet as long someone isnâ€™t significantly underperforming, companies donâ€™t seek to make a personnel change.
Now Iâ€™m not Attila the Hun or anything like that. I realize these are real people we're talking about. I also believe that most people with a passion and motivation for doing good work would never experience a non-"last resort" release. Could be that these people just don't have passion for what they do at their organization. Or it could be that they will never have passion about what they doâ€”either way, I think your organization will be better off without them.
I think it would have to be done right. For example, a hypothetical employment policy might explain up front that the organization is always assessing the strengths of its employees and will not hesitate to make changes if it thinks it is in the best interest of the organization. To compensate for the lack of security, the company could have a relatively generous severance package for anyone released other than for gross negligence. Maybe any employee that has been there at least six months gets two monthsâ€™ salary as severance. For each year of service, another month is added on up to a maximum of seven months. Of course thereâ€™s drawbacks, such as cash flow considerations. But I also think such a policy would be fair to the employee and is fair to the organization. Sorry to bust out the Jim Collins metaphor, but you have to use the hiring and firing decisions to get the rightâ€”not ok or satisfactoryâ€”but the right people on the bus.
Tomorrow: Scheduled work hours.
|| Permalink | Comments (8)|