There is a phrase that is bouncing around in both the Technology and Medical areas; “Hire Slow – Fire Fast”.
Nice intention – but it misses the mark completely. If you are competing for the best talent you can get, then you can’t waste time. In some markets there are 4 jobs for every candidate. If you are the only company in your space that is growing and the market around you is staying still and no competitors are looming, then take your time. (Of course I am being sarcastic). No business facing the potential of growth is alone in its quest.
We suggest that you “Hire Effectively and Fire Efficiently” and this phrase is not even close.
On this basis, you want to have a very clear understanding of the direction and strategy of your business, be aware of how the position you are filling will affect that strategy and understand the results that you want the person in that role to generate. Also, you want to understand what Skills, Knowledge, Understand, Experience, Attitudes and Beliefs that the ideal candidate brings so that you can more easily recognize a winning combination.
Be prepared to act in your hiring process, but utilize all your resources (an interviewing team, key associates, Executives from other areas, Mentors or Advisors), they can help you get additional perspective on the upside and concerns that go with every candidate.
As for Fire Efficiently, it’s important to make the release of someone be a necessary next step – not your first step (unless it is for “cause”). Informal (versus formal) Performance Improvement plans let someone know that they are not meeting needs and expectations. It also lets them know that a significant change has to happen quickly. Very often, people will take themselves out of the game, because they don’t want to be someplace where they can’t really fit.
The process you use to determine if someone is a fit after they are hired, is as important as the hiring process. It tells everyone in the affected area, what the standards for performance are and how the company’s culture is represented in the process. It tells people what you really stand for as a company and what you can be counted on, relative to fair treatment.
Have a well-formed and clear hiring process and efficient shared model for performance evaluation and accountability. It can save the company a fortune and people a lot of grief.
One other point that can really make a difference occurs during the hiring process. You can let people know that you are not just filling a role, but you are building culture that has to be a great fit all the way around. You might specify a time frame to review “the fit” (1 or 3 or 6 months) and then spell out what happens if there doesn’t seem to be a fit. For example, “It is our custom to make sure that we as a company are a good fit for everyone that works here and we want to be a fit for each person working. We check-in to make sure things still make sense for us to be together. If either of us decides that a change out of the company is best, then we provide 1 day severance for every 2 months someone is employed. (or whatever your compliance and labor laws allow). If a separation is the next step, we will do it with respect and appreciation. That is what you can count on from us and that is what we want to be able to count on from you.”
As you can see, it is a very mature approach to working relationships, managing performance and value. Of course, make sure your legal resources concur that you are in compliance with how your State Labor Laws impact your workplace.