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Should I fire somebody just because the employer made a mistake in hiring him?

I started a new job (90 days Oct. 1st) and I have been told to get rid of an employee because he just isn't cutting it. The employee has been here 3 years and was hired because, as a friend of the CEO, he did graphic work. However, he has to be more technical now and I'm not sure he can make it.

For whatever reason the CEO wants me to fire him. We have a small IT shop of five people which includes two vacancies so I am hesitant to get rid of any help that I can get my hands on.

I am preparing an action plan but feel like I am wasting my time.

Has anybody else faced this situation? If so, what did you do?
Kevin

jhbchina's picture

Hi Kevin,

Sounds like a difficult spot to be in. This is a great chance for you to ask the CEO to give you time to let your O3's with this direct help you make a decision.

I would:
1) Go to the CEO and try to find out the real reason they want the person terminated. Try to get another 3 - 6 months time for coaching, what's another 3 months after 3 years.
2) Talk to HR and find out what procedures you need to follow so YOU don't get caught in the middle of a law suit.
3) Start coaching on the DR weaknesses now!
4) Listen to the casts related to how to avoid firing.

Good Luck and keep us posted.

BJ_Marshall's picture

[quote="jhbchina"]This is a great chance for you to ask the CEO to give you time to let your O3's with this direct help you make a decision. [/quote]

Are you, in fact, doing O3s?

I'm not sure diving into coaching at this point is warranted. How long have you been giving affirming/adjusting feedback?

After you've conducted O3s, given plenty of feedback, and started coaching, you may find out that you don't need to fire this guy. Maybe he'll do fine in the current position ... or elsewhere in the company.

But first, you need to do your due diligence. I'd also check out the recent 'casts on rolling out the trinity with your team (and, of course, the prerequisite 'casts on what the trinity is).

Makes me wonder why they didn't fire this guy before you came on-board. Seems like a dodgy move on their part to me that raises some flags about their own managerial skills.

BJ

AManagerTool's picture

Sounds to me like you need to fire someone. Sorry, It's a crappy situation!

jhbchina's picture

Makes me wonder why they didn't fire this guy before you came on-board. Seems like a dodgy move on their part to me that raises some flags about their own managerial skills.

BJ[/quote]

I agree, good thing the latest cast is "I Hate My New Job", sounds like you might need this in the future. :)

asteriskrntt1's picture

If you have 2 vacancies and are about to have a 3rd, you better start building those relationships.

Scan for replacement talent so you can get people on board ASAP.

*RNTT

KS180's picture

The direct has a personal relationship with the CEO outside of work so they don't want to be seen as the bad guy. He was hired because of his friendship and to do training. Now he is being asked to take on a much more technical role and he cannot cut it.

Like AManagerTool said 'it's a crappy situation'. I'm trying to find a position for him where his skills could be put to better use somewhere else in the company.

I won't even go into the lack of managerial skills. I know I'm not the best but... I have 15 months to go.

AManagerTool's picture

[quote]For whatever reason the CEO wants me to fire him[/quote]

[quote]I'm trying to find a position for him where his skills could be put to better use somewhere else in the company. [/quote]

Ahhhhemmm, The CEO said fire his own buddy.

I don't want to overstate the obvious but ... THE CEO SAID [u][b]FIRE[/b][/u]!

His goal seems to be to preserve his external relationship with this person so he doesn't want to do it. He is looking for someone to help him with that goal. This is obviously gut wrenching for him as well as you. You should be working on an exit plan that is compassionate, timely and definitive. Do NOT pass this marked man on to another manager. You will be sending a message that you cannot be trusted to deliver on the hard stuff.

It is a very crappy problem...but it's your problem. Don't make it someone else's.

I'm sorry for the tone if it came off hard but it seems like you are waivering. From what little I see in the posts you made, you don't really have wiggle room. If you do then once again, my apologies.

US41's picture

Listen to AManagerTool. When the CEO says "Make it so." You better make it so.

I recommend you cover yourself with HR tomorrow, and then let the guy go. Offer to accept his resignation effectively immediately and to give him a good reference as needed.

KS180's picture

HR recommended I meet with him and give him a 1-day suspension for failure to complete a work assignment. Did it.

Seems he called the CEO later that night and the CEO changed their mind. He came to work the next day and nobody told me.

I understand the situation I am in. Hopefully he will get tired of the aggrevation and leave on his own. Personally, I like the guy but he cannot help me get what I want accomplished.

AManagerTool your comments were not harsh - just honest.

I feel like I am in the middle of a domestic dispute.
KS180

JoeFuture's picture

It seems your CEO is waffling. My recommendation is to make the daily or weekly expectations for this person completely and unambiguously clear. Then give plenty of feedback about which expectations the employee is and isn't meeting. If you keep it objective and the person fails to meet expectations, then you have a clearly defensible case for termination. If the CEO is worth his/her weight in salt, they'll have to agree. If they aren't, then consider whether or not this is the best environment for you to work in.

HMac's picture

[quote="KS180"]I feel like I am in the middle of a domestic dispute.[/quote]

You are. And now the CEO has undercut your authority.

Shout out to [b]jhbchina[/b] - some really good observations and comments worth re-reading.

I can only add that it might be helpful to find out if this behavior by the CEO is aberrant or typical. If the situation is described by HR with an eyeroll or something like "Oh that's just how {the CEO} is..." - GET OUT! Find another job. Now. Explaining a six month mistake is a lot easier than explaining a 1 year mistake.

-Hugh

KS180's picture

Thanks for the info. HR is the CEO's sister so that avenue is cut off. Talking to my boss, the CFO, he tells me basically the guy isn't going anywhere.

I thought I would have to stay in this job for 18 months before I made a switch but have decided to start looking again. I really hate looking for a job.

What I love about this site is the quality of advice from people who have there.

JoeFuture's picture

KS180 - there are red flags all over the place here. Try not to feel bad about looking again... At least you discovered this early on before you were more entrenched and possibly wrapped up in some bigger mess caused by these folks. Think back to when you interviewed with the company - any other red flags you can think of that might have been a warning?

KS180's picture

The COO answered all the red flags.
There was money for expansion - we are looking at layoffs

I had their support to get rid of this guy - undermine my authority.

I could make an additional $10k in incentive pay to make up for the pay cut I took - they are thinking about cutting incentive pay in January.

I wouldn't have to attend "Corporate meetings" which last over 6 hours and are held twice a month - I now attend the meetings.

Basically, I raised the flags and was given their word it would not be a problem. Time to get the resume updated and start looking.

JoeFuture's picture

Best of luck. I know change sucks, especially in this economy, but like the M&M's say - it's better to look on your own terms rather than forced to be looking.

KS180's picture

I took a big chance but it was the right thing to do - and for now I am OK.

I laid the cards on the table that what they hired this guy for and what they want him to do are 180 degrees apart. He has no background in it but then they try to hold him accountable. Using their friendship I got the powers-that-be to decide to move him back to what he wants, and was hired, to do.

He's happy, my boss is happy because her relationship is intact, I am happy because I can get an additional position out of it and it will actually help the company. The stress level on a couple individuals should also go down.

jhack's picture

Well done!

John

bflynn's picture

Nicely handled. Great job on sticking to it until you understood the situation well enough to control it.

Brian