Great article on Being the Boss and Firing Employees

Discussion in 'Water Damage/Fire Restoration' started by aspenedelen, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. aspenedelen

    aspenedelen FatCat Player

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    Hardest part of being the boss: Firing people

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

    No question, firing people is hard. "It's the management duty I hate most," entrepreneur David Robins said. "But in a start-up, margins for error are so slim and time is so critical, sometimes you just don't have a choice."

    Robins speaks from experience. Cofounder of Binfire, which makes collaborative project-management software, Robins has let three key employees go since 2010 -- all within six months of their start dates.

    Delivering the bad news that an employee isn't working out is like ripping off a Band-Aid: It's best done quickly.

    "As soon as you know that someone is damaging the productivity of the team or preventing the company from reaching its goals, you must act, because the longer you wait, the harder it gets," Robins said.

    At Binfire, one of the departed was the chief technical officer, whose wife was also starting a company -- and depending on him to run crucial parts of it.

    "I told him we would need 100% of his time, and he assured me he was totally with us," recalled Robins. As it turned out, that wasn't so: The CTO missed crucial meetings, often showed up late, and "was always very tired."

    When Robins questioned him, the CTO admitted he was putting in long hours with his wife's company "as a fallback, in case Binfire didn't work out," Robins said. "I thought for two minutes, consulted one of our directors, and fired him. It was one of the most difficult things I ever did. But we couldn't afford less than his full attention."

    Nor could Binfire, like most start-ups, make do with employees who couldn't get along with coworkers and constantly disrupted their teams -- a description that fit Robins' other two fired employees.

    The trauma of firing the wrong employees made Robins change his approach to finding the right ones.

    First, he says, the erstwhile CTO made him cautious about hiring friends.

    "Knowing someone outside of business makes you drop your guard, so that you don't dig hard enough," Robins said. "If I had not known him socially, I would have asked tougher questions -- and probably realized how involved he was in his wife's start-up."

    Robins has also changed how he evaluates candidates. He no longer interviews people by himself. Now, he wants to see potential hires in a group setting with prospective teammates, which he usually does over lunch.

    "People talk about work but also about all kinds of other things," Robins said. He pays close attention to how carefully the candidates listen. "Someone who is willing to listen to others, even if they disagree, tends to be a better team player."

    Robins also instituted a three- to six-month probationary period before hiring anyone full-time, with the understanding that the candidate and the company will try each other out and see how they get along.

    So far, his new three-part strategy is working. Of five candidates on probation in the past year, "everyone has 'passed'," Robins said. "I haven't had to fire anyone."

    By Anne Fisher, January 23, 2014:
     
  2. freemind

    freemind Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    Terminating someone should not be an emotional rollercoaster.

    It's just business.
     
  3. aspenedelen

    aspenedelen FatCat Player

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    It shouldn't be but when you have loyal long term employees who end up being bad let the emotional rollercoaster begin
     
  4. Torrey W

    Torrey W Syndicated Entrepreneur

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    Torrey Whitaker
    I've never had to do this. I'm sure if I grow the business enough it will come sometime.
    Good info.
     
  5. Presidential Cleanng

    Presidential Cleanng FatCat Entrepreneur

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    I lay out my expectations from the start. If a good employee turns south, I'll have a sit down and explain the problems that are starting to form. Typically most see the changes and correct them. But, occasionally there are a few who say "yes I got ya, I'll fix it" but they don't. Now I'm not the type person that just talks with no action, so I'll give them 1 more chance and explain the next step is termination.

    In the cleaning business your judged constantly by your appearance, your work, your attitude, etc. So for my crew I expect them to walk a fine line. Yes there will be mental errors and what not and I can over look those (but still coach the person). Although, when they are given chance after chance and still don't perform....then it's an easy choice for me. I don't let emotions get in the way of business....this coming from a guy who fired his own brother in law.
     
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  6. aspenedelen

    aspenedelen FatCat Player

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    I remember when I fired my own mother from her phone receptionist position. Talk about a emotional roller coaster
     
  7. freemind

    freemind Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    The best thing anyone can ever do, is never hire friends and family. It tends to make a business relationship, shipwrecked and doomed from the beginning.

    Secondly, I agree with Presidential Cleaning. An employee is there to serve a specific set of functions. YOU set the expectations and the rules. I don't suppose allowing emotions to make your decisions is all bad, but it also can ruin your business. As a boss, you can't be the "buddy". Business is business and everything else is well, everything else.
     
  8. Decker01

    Decker01 Syndicated FatCat Entreprenuer

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    Great article.

    I've had to hire and fire many ppl. Sometimes its not hard at all, actually very easy to fire someone. Sometimes it is very very hard.

    Given the speed at which things move, and the small numbers most of us are working with, it's very prudent to make these difficult moves swiftly. One bad employee stealing, eroding morale, or not delivering on your service commitment can quickly ruin your reputation.
     
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  9. Steve Toburen

    Steve Toburen FatCat Entrepreneur

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    I think most of us (including me) tend to put this off. Big mistake.

    My Three No-No's for employees were;

    1) Don't lie to me

    2) Don't surprise me and

    3) Never, ever ignore me! (On the other hand I invite and welcome "Creative Dissent". That means up till we (actually me) arrive at at final decision feel free to argue with me!)

    Steve

    PS It is important to realize that today's new employees (Millenials) are motivated differently. Big Billy Yeadon has written on how to work with and manage Millenials. He even wrote a manual on it!
     
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