The people you fire become ambassadors or detractors, and everyone in your organization is watching.
The economy is heading toward recession, and companies participating in the post-COVID hiring frenzy are laying people off. Ferocious firing has replaced quiet quitting.
How to fire employees well
You will also fire employees, whether by economic necessity or common sense, and you should put the same care into letting people go as you do in bringing them on board.
Doing it wrong is a smell that keeps on stinking.
- You come across as incompetent
- Your employees focus on their exit strategy instead of their jobs
- You get a reputation as a jerk and your company as a bad workplace
Doing it right boosts your credibility.
- People feel valued as you give them an off-ramp
- Your most productive employees stay engaged
- People you let go will want to rejoin your company
- Good reputation spreads
Every good company has an onboarding process. Do you have a dignified off-ramp?
Recession is coming; not inevitable, but likely, and layoffs are stacking up. Finding a new job takes most people 3.5 to 6 months.
Tech companies are firing people poorly. Google reportedly fired 12,000 by midnight email, even as CEO Sundar Pichai doesn’t cut his compensation. Netflix let go of hundreds and yet wants to hire a $385,000 flight attendant for the bigwig’s private jet.
Apple has avoided the Google, Netflix, and Meta mess thanks to slower hiring and leaner perks.
HBR has good advice for CEOs.
Only a third of the workforce is engaged, while the percentage of actively disengaged increased to 18% in 2022. One out of every five employees is both unproductive and spreading dissent. By firing well, you are doing the latter a favor by allowing them to find a better fit.
Hiring slowly means you’ll make fewer errors and find that you don’t need as many on the payroll. You can do without a significant percentage of the fifty percent who report being unengaged.