HIRING AND FIRING

There are four main situations that will indicate when you need to hire an employee or additional employees:

You must then determine if the person you need will be needed to work on a full-time or part-time basis as an employee or as an independent contractor. Before you begin the interview process, it’s best to have a job description designed as well as a basic compensation package developed for the prospective employee.

Finding the right people for your organization is usually a matter of looking carefully at past experience and present capabilities. Getting referrals from a previous employer or acquaintance is probably the best way. When that isn’t possible, get and check references, look at samples of past work or track record, or provide a pre-employment test to determine actual skill level. Don’t be surprised when previous employers will do little more than confirm employment dates. They may be doing so only as a matter of company policy to reduce the potential for lawsuits. What is your policy about providing referrals? You do have one, don’t you?

During the interview process, raise the problems and concerns you have in relation to the work you are hiring for. If you are under a tight deadline or the workday is pressure filled, express your concern that the job can be done right and on time. Explain any special circumstances that the individual may be involved in, such as regular overtime, weekend work, fieldwork, driving to and from jobsites, etc. Then listen and watch the person respond. Do they appear to have solutions? Are they confident about handling the situations you present?

The success of your organization is largely based on the work performance of the employees you hire. Why hire someone you may eventually fire? What a waste of your time in interviewing, training, trying to solve their problems and making them adapt to company policies if you’re not convinced from the beginning that this is the kind of employee you want in order to build a successful organization. When selecting an employee, make sure they understand the kind of performance you expect from them. Feel confident and be sure to check their references.

Establish a company policy that new employees are to be evaluated over a probation period before regular employment is offered. Print this policy on an application form and explain it to the applicant so that no doubt exists. Have a written contract outlining mutual responsibilities and obligations.

If a valued employee wants to terminate on his/her own volition, find out why. Should your efforts to keep them be unsuccessful, leave the door open for them to return at a later date under amicable conditions. Phone them after a period of several months to tell them how much their work was appreciated, and invite them to return. They may have decided they were better off with you as an employer, but were reluctant to make the first call.

But the time does come when you find the attitude or production of an employee is below your acceptable standards. Have the employee in for an interview held in confidentiality and privacy (it’s a good idea to have a quiet observer to these interviews), giving enough time and limiting outside interruptions. Tell them what you like about them and specify where their performance is satisfactory. Try to find out the source of their problem and offer your help. Opening the lines of communication may uncover a situation or personal or work problems that can be resolved.

If there is no alternative to firing, do so without animosity. If there is a temporary problem that can be worked out, decide whether the employee is valuable enough for you to exercise patience. If you keep an employee, follow up with periodic checkups. Don’t retain an employee who is unwilling to compromise or who sets a poor example for other employees within the organization. A firing is an admission by both parties that one or the other, or both, failed to prevent the termination.

Points to consider when hiring:

Points to consider when firing:

Remember that ability problems can be solved. Attitude problems are more difficult to deal with.

NOTE: For other closely related topics, be sure to review the sections on Leadership (#20) and Company Policy (#78) in this series of articles on Business and Labor Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to Barbara@mikeholt.com.

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