They Just Fired Bill! What Happened?

 In Business Operations

Retaining good employees is critical in today’s dynamic environment.  Having a good employee ensures that the company will function well.  What happens when human resources makes a “bad decision” and the employee is found not to “fit” in the environment or culture?


An often quoted “bromide” in the Human Resources business is to be “Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire.”  In today’s world, the point here is most critical.

Hiring a new employee is a costly and lengthy process.  A firm has to advertise the position, either in digital or print media, or both.  Review the resume or application, decide which candidates to bring in to interview and then decide who to hire.  Sometimes, a firm may end up with a “failed search”—none of the candidates were qualified, did not fit the job description once an in-person interview was conducted, or failed a background check.  We have not even yet begun the training period—which results in even more cost.

If, after interviewing, a firm hires a candidate—the firm must be careful on how to proceed with the new employee.  If the firm continues to “churn” people, people coming and going all the time, that needs to be explored, addressed and fixed before you continue on seeking new employees.  Why is the churn?  What is causing people to come and go?  If that is NOT the problem, hire the best qualified candidate.

After the initial human resources orientation, which may take 1 hour to 1 week, depending upon the size of the organization and complexity of the task, ensure that the new employee receives the proper training and orientation to not only the company, but also to the job for which he/she is being employed.  Develop a comprehensive checklist of tasks, expectations and goals that the new employee is expected to achieve during this probationary period.  Review this list each week, so the new employee knows and understands how he/she is performing.

Carefully document everything during this timeframe.  We all learn at different rates, not a problem.  However,  if you have to repeat steps, tasks and procedures several times, take careful note.  If attention to detail is required in the position, this candidate may not be the best one.  Provide lots of explanations and help to the new candidate—, both you and the candidate want this to be a success.  The last thing that the firm wishes is to have to find another candidate.  The candidate does not want to have find another job.

However, if the fit is not right, now is the time to discharge.  Establish a probationary period for the candidate.  In this probationary period, the candidate or the firm can elect to leave with no reason.  We recommend a period of at least 120 days as a probationary period.  Very clearly, clarify the probationary period in the initial job interview that the candidate is on a probationary period and that his or her  job performance is closely monitored every day.  If the candidate does not work out in the first 60 days, we recommend discharge without fault.  Just point out that the candidate was not making the progress that the firm expected and he/she needed to pursue another opportunity.


Proceed with caution when hiring new employees.  This is one time that “haste makes waste.”  Develop a thorough on-boarding process to ensure that the candidate will do the best job for the firm.

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