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What Makes Hire Slow, Fire Fast Work for Businesses?

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A lot of businesses subscribe to a hire slow, fire fast maxim.  This means that they want to take their time in hiring the correct candidate and, if they make a mistake, they will fix their error by termination.  Ideally, a business that follows the first rule won’t have to make good on the second.

But how does the maxim apply in today’s labor market?  The Great Resignation that saw 4.5 million workers voluntarily leave their jobs was only a few months ago.  The recent pandemic has convinced a lot of workers to reevaluate their priorities in life.  Many are leaving their current position in search of a better life balance or more remote options.  When a company has an urgent vacancy, they may feel rushed to secure a replacement.  Due in part to these pressures, almost 3 in every 4 employers say they’ve hired the wrong person for a job before.  When a hiring mistake happens, fixing it by firing someone is unpleasant for all parties. 

It’s time for businesses to do a little reevaluation of their own.  How can your company follow hire slow, fire fast principles in today’s workforce?  What does that phrase really mean in 2022?  To start, it might be easier to cover what it doesn’t mean.  Hiring slow doesn’t mean waiting for the perfect candidate to apply to your company.  Most employees that fit your criteria will still need training in order to excel in their role.  Hiring slow means considering your options before making a decision.  Don’t just hire a candidate because they applied early.

On a similar note, new hires can’t be expected to perform perfectly right away.  Firing fast is not the same as firing on a whim.  Termination is no substitute for training, coaching, or potential role changes to prop up a troubled, but good employee.  The real question is about fit: how well does the new hire fit in with their team?  Do they fall in line with the company’s values?  If a new hire truly is a bad fit, they won’t be happy staying.  Their presence may cause an entire team to suffer.  When that becomes the case, firing should be done directly and with compassion.  Firing may never be easy, but it doesn’t have to be extreme either.  Better.com received major backlash when it fired 900 employees on a Zoom call. Other companies can learn from their mistakes.

Another thing to think about in the hiring process is the candidate’s point of view.  Selective hiring is a luxury not every business can afford.  If your business wants to be able to demand a lot of employees, it needs to be a place where people want to work.  Sometimes that means getting your company’s name out there.  Other times it means examining your work environment.  What benefits do employees receive from working there?  What is the company culture like?  An important aspect of hiring with care and firing when necessary is maintaining a positive corporate culture.

Allan Strauss has a proven track record of editing and formatting content for newspapers, magazines or any other publishing endeavor. His experience includes everything from layout design to public speaking on stages around the world.

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