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Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire

Posted on June 18th, 2021

Employment Attorney in Bozeman, MT

Employment Attorney in Bozeman, MT

This is an old saying, and I am unable to track down to whom I should give credit for it. However, we have all heard it said, many times in our business lives. But, what does it really mean?

Let’s face it, most of us are too busy working in our businesses that we struggle with working on our businesses. This includes the process of dealing with employees. However, as you have heard me say, like a broken record, if we aren’t working on our businesses, then we are turning ourselves into an employee. The ship needs a captain, and that captain has to deal with the crew in order to make the ship sail.

Don’t hire employees out of fear. Right now, Montana is the anomaly. Our unemployment rate hovers at a historic low of near 3% across the state. That normally means that if you need to hire more people or need to replace someone, then that new hire is going to be very difficult to find. The result is that we have to be more deliberate about our hiring process. The faster you try and get that position filled, the more likely you are to hire an absolute disaster. Ask yourself, what will it cost you in lost customers to hire the wrong person? Customers can forgive you if you are too busy and you turn away business, the right way. However, if you try to serve too many people, and do a poor job at it? That is an unforgivable sin!

This is why the saying, “Hire slow”, has merit. If you move too quickly, then that new hire has greater odds of costing you dearly.

Firing fast may be the best approach, but not always. I had a client who thought they had hired the absolute wrong employee. The person was struggling personally and in their role as a team member. I simply asked the owner, why was the activity of the employee happening? The employer did not know, so I sent her in search of the answer with the employee. Come to find out, the employee was scared, because they did not understand what their full job duties were nor did they understand what was expected of them. Once the employer sat down and gave more clear direction and some oversight training, the employee then became a long-term rock star. Sometimes, the problem is really on us, the employer and what is really needed by the employee is a little coaching.

In another situation, a client of mine had an employee that had started out strong, only to quickly fade in attitude and performance. The problems that were being created were never the fault of the employee and when the employer tried to work with the person, all the employer got back were complaints about their management style. Everything was always someone else’s fault, but never the employee’s fault. Sound familiar to some of you? I can tell you that in my history of working with employers, this employee has never made it as a member of the team. These, my friends, should be warning signs to you, that this person will most likely not be a good team player. Employees that are not good cultural fits, cannot be coached. It is time to institute the phrase, “Quick to Fire”!

Business is business, and we as business owners need to make sure we are putting in enough time working on our businesses, rather than working in the business. When it comes to employees, you can coach a lot of things. However, you cannot coach attitude or drive. Those two traits all come from within. Knowledge, now that is something that you can coach! Now, go coach some new rock stars on your team.

If you are facing an employment law issue and need legal guidance, contact an employment attorney in Bozeman, MT, like the professionals at Silverman Law Office, PLLC.


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