Hot Topic: Hire Slow, Fire Fast
There are lots of articles out there on the web about the “Hire Slow, Fire Fast” concept. We were initially surprised by how divided folks seem to be on the topic. Some entrepreneurs argue that the composition of your team is critical, and you must be incredibly cautious about who you hire and who you keep on your team. Other business owners offer articles with titles like Hire Slow, Fire Fast” Is A Bunch Of BS. So which side of the argument do we here at She Leads Consulting come down on? Well, we stand by “Hire Slow, Fire Fast” and here’s why:
1.Arguments against the concept are often based on very strict interpretations – too strict. When we say, “hire slow”, we don’t mean string people along for months. We mean use an effective screening and interview process that thoroughly vets the prospective hire. And when we say, “fire fast”, we don’t mean fire indiscriminately or without respect. We mean let people go when they are clearly not a good fit and do it compassionately.
2. Particularly for micro businesses (businesses with five employees or less), it is so important that every employee – every member of your small team – is a high contributor and a good fit. One person who is not pulling their weight just has too much negative impact on the other few employees, and on your bottom line.
3. A common argument against hiring slow is that good candidates have other options and if you are too slow with your recruitment process, they will take other jobs. We agree with that argument. Once you begin recruiting, it’s important to move through the process with reasonable speed. However, be slow and deliberate about deciding to hire. Small business owners must carefully consider adding additional fixed costs like labor – they eat directly into potential profits. So, it’s important to use your business data to help you determine if you should add a person to your team. The main question to consider is, “Can a new hire contribute in a way that will generate measurable increased sales or efficiencies that boost profits?” If the answer is yes, after careful (slow) deliberation and data-driven analysis, it’s time to hire.
4.The costs of a bad hire can be incredible: wasted labor and training costs, lost or unhappy customers, low co-worker morale, and the loss of your own management time! We don’t advocate for spending months rejecting good candidates with high potential while look for the “perfect” hire. But we do strongly recommend NOT hiring an employee if you have any reservations or any doubts about their fit with your company. Trust your instincts.
5.Whether to “fire fast” also creates some controversy. Some businesses value their commitment to employees and team so highly that they invest significant effort in training, counseling, and developing struggling employees. However, most small businesses just don’t have the bandwidth or diversity of job positions to spend the money and time trying to salvage a bad hire. In fact, many business experts argue that firing fast is even more critical than hiring slow, to minimize the costs associated with a bad employee. Realistically, if you are a small business owner, the success or failure of your business may depend on the competence of your team; and on your ability to quickly identify an employee who is not pulling their weight and rectify the situation. Therefore, we advocate for firing fast, while cautioning you to do it the right way. Show compassion by helping the employee recognize that a bad fit is not good for either the business OR the employee. Termination should never be a surprise. You should provide clear job expectations to new hires, give candid performance feedback highlighting any deficiencies, and a documented warning with a clear timeframe to make any necessary improvement. If the person cannot make the corrections or simply cannot do the job, you’ll need to compassionately terminate employment. With the right focus on early interactions with new employees, you can fire fast, if necessary, and take the appropriate steps to protect your business.
Here are some articles to help enlighten you on the “Hire Slow, Fire Fast” debate:
Where do your fall in the debate on whether to “Hire Slow, Fire Fast”? Let’s chat about your experiences in our Facebook Community, She Leads – Women’s Leadership Development. We can’t wait to meet you there!