Licensee Badge
Submitted by Nevergiveup on


What are your thoughts on the usual hire slow, fire fast mentality? Hiring at a reasonable pace (not too slow) is fine with me, but if I don't have ready candidates, should I be firing people who aren't performing and expecting the rest of the team (including me) to pick up the slack and cover?

For one person it's ok, but this managing out a subteam of 3 folks in a team of 12.

JohnG's picture

Like so many things that are summed up in a handful of words "Hire Slow, Fire Fast" has been interpreted to mean so many things that it has become in and of itself meaningless.

My recollection of the original intent of "Fire Fast" was to encourage managers to consider the harm keeping really bad employees on for long periods did to both their results and the morale of the rest of the team. My way of interpreting this is: Would my results get better and my team be happier if we fired this employee, even accounting for all the work and hassle it causes?

Personally, and in countries where you need grounds for termination, this doesn't automatically mean you can let them go immediately; what it does mean is that you should set out what acceptable is, and work with your employees to try and get them there, but if they remain so bad you'd be better off without them don't wait too long before letting them go.

In a situation where you have a decent number of problem employees it becomes a lot more complex. Putting 3 problem employees through intensive coaching is a huge resource drain for potentially very little payback and goes against MTs advice to spend most time with top performers. I would suggest that you look very closely at whether any of the 3 are notably more problematic than the others and potentially make bringing them or or letting them go your focus initially.

mrreliable's picture

For most people  firing is the most unpleasant duty in their list of job responsibilities. When we've decided an employee will be terminated, and it's my job to fire them, I've always done it as quickly as possible for a variety of reasons.

For one, getting that nasty duty behind me as soon as possible inflicts the least amount of pain for me. The longer you delay, the harder and messier it's going to be.

Out of respect I think about how I'd like to be treated if the roles were reversed. If a company was going to fire me, I'd want them to do it as soon as they'd made the decision. To keep me around long enough to clean up messes or tie up loose ends then fire me when it's most convenient for the employer would really make me mad if I knew about it. I'd look at it as disrespectful.

This person is going to have to move on. You're not giving them the chance to do that and possibly forcing them to miss other opportunities by delaying the invevitable.

Whatever behavior got them fired was not in the best interest of the company. Keeping a bad chemical in the mix longer than absolutely necessary is a recipe for disaster.

I've had to fire several people over the years. I tried to be as honest and respectful as possible in that situation, and went straight to the deed when the decision had been made. People in our industry come in contact with each other in a number of different ways, "everybody knows everybody." I'm proud of the fact that most of the people I've fired have maintained a respectful, friendly relationship, and many are still customers of our company.

Tressie William's picture

If those are newly hired employees then you have to keep patience and let them learn, help them to learn and if after 5 or 6 months they are not working as per your training or guidence then you can take the decision.

tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

There is a podcast that you may find helpful:

This is the Manager Tools guidance on Late Stage Coaching.

Gk26's picture

Your HR team may put the brakes on firing fast. I probably have the highest upward trending velocity for terminations in my division. Each person we have discharged has at some point in the separation process stated an intent to hire an attorney. We have a process to follow, and it can be frustrating, but we do get it done.

williamelledgepe's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

In addition to the cast tlhausmann cited you could also listen to the Corky Story: