Hire slow, but don’t fire too fast

taskmasterThe other day I was talking to an entrepreneur who was retiring about their biggest lessons.

 

“That’s easy,” she said.

 

“As my career went on, I learnt that you get rid of underperformers quickly. The more experienced I got, the quicker I would fire them.”

 

The “hire slow, fire fast” is possibly the most common bit of advice I receive from entrepreneurs. And I admit that it’s a lesson I have worked hard to use during my time running a business.

 

But I was given a bit of pause the other day when I read an article on US small business website Inc, where an article suggested that one of the qualities of a remarkable boss was the ability to “rescue” a struggling employee.

 

“Don’t relax your standards. Just step up the mentoring and coaching you provide,” the writer Jeff Haden argues.

 

“If that seems like too much work for too little potential outcome, think of it this way. Your remarkable employees don’t need a lot of your time; they’re remarkable because they already have these qualities. If you’re lucky, you can get a few percentage points of extra performance from them. But a struggling employee has tons of upside; rescue him and you make a tremendous difference.”

 

I’ve been thinking about that for days and I reckon it’s got merit. As Haden goes on to say, it won’t work every time, and I reckon you need to be sure there is something to “rescue” before you spend time doing so.

 

But attempting a “rescue” does say a lot about what sort of company you are, and what sort of leader you are.

 

Get it done – today!

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