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StrategyDriven Advisors Corner Article

The Advisor’s Corner – Is there a right way to FIRE an employee?

Is there a right way to FIRE an employee?Question:

Is there a right way to FIRE an employee?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

Unfortunately, on average, we still have a 50 percent or more failure rate in hiring. This means we are as likely as not going to find ourselves in this unpleasant situation.

Aside from legal, union, or other contractual considerations that you must take into account, there are 5 KEY ACTIONS that will help keep you out of a heap of trouble:

  • Be Truthful – Employees should know exactly why they are being released from their job. Tell the truth. Most good employers have due process procedures and policies that need to be honored and communicated. Don’t leave the person to make assumptions, create more resentment than is necessary, or increase the odds of creating bad will. Remember, poor performance is poor performance, gross misconduct is gross misconduct, and a layoff is a layoff. So what is it and why?
  • Be Fair – This is a baseline rule. Fairness is a fundamental human expectation, at least in this country. It’s also a major factor in how the employee and others on your team feel when he or she exits the organization. Was the employee treated fairly? If you did everything you should have done to help this person be successful, and they didn’t cut it, then sleep easy. If you have been compassionate in your layoff package, then sleep easy. If not, then you have more work to do before you go to sleep.
  • Be Clear – Whenever possible, employees should have had a discussion with you in which they either hear 1) their job is on the line due to performance and exactly why, or 2) if it’s downsizing, be clear about that. If the termination is due to gross misconduct like stealing, tell it like it is. Get to the point, then stand up, offer your hand, wish them well, and walk them to the door. If the employee becomes despondent and is crying or is in a difficult emotional state, give them time to get themselves together; don’t fill this time with conversation about the decision. Just be kind, be human.
  • Be Respectful – Being fair is essential, as we’ve already noted. You can be fair and not be respectful. Being respectful is not only the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do. Regardless of the circumstances leading to the termination, be professional and courteous. This is not a time to say that you told them so, or how much better things will be without them. Nor is it the time to make yourself feel better about your decision by belittling them or minimizing their contributions. Have your meeting at a time during which the employee will have little or no exposure to their colleagues and avoid having them led out of the building during business hours. Being terminated is a terrible experience, even when it is fair, done respectfully, and deserved. Always take the high road.
  • Be Smart – There are emotional aspects of the termination discussion and there are other factors to consider. Might this employee become volatile? Do you need security precautions? Should HR be present in the room? Do you have your exit checklist – e.g. keys, access, passwords, equipment, credit cards, etcetera? Your organization needs a solid termination process to follow to keep everyone out of legal and any other kind of trouble.

At the end of the day, it’s the emotions that wear you down. You should not fire someone on your own. Enlist HR, a lawyer, or other team members to help you stay clear and focused. It is important to feel what you feel and acknowledge those feelings. We’re all human. It is just as important to make sure you do not let your feelings about one person or the anticipated pain of the firing conversation get in the way of doing what is right for everyone else.


About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.


The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

StrategyDriven Advisors Corner Article

The Advisor’s Corner – Can I Afford a Bad Hire?

Can I Afford a Bad Hire?Question:

Can I Afford a Bad Hire?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

Fact 1: No one can afford a bad hire!
Fact 2: Nationally, about 50 percent of hires, fail. Of those that succeed only about 20 percent are top performers.
Fact 3: 90 percent of failures are UNRELATED to brains and technical skills.
Fact 4: The cost of a bad hire is up to 2x the person’s annual salary and benefits… until you fire them or they leave. How much you lose depends on how awful they are and how much time, money, and productivity is flushed away in the meantime. Then… add another 2x to 2.5x their salary costs to replace them.
Fact 5: Turnover in any position costs you real money. Turnover of good people leaving because they don’t want to work with your bad hires, costs you even more.

Do I have your attention? This is not theory – it is fact. And yet… we hire most people and positions based on shiny new degrees and/or technical skills along with perceived or tested IQ. We now KNOW, for a fact, that EQ (Emotional Quotient/Intelligence) is far more important for success in most jobs, and definitely within leadership roles.

Still, we continue to hire and promote people, including leaders, largely for IQ and technical skill sets. “The best salesperson will surely be the best leader of other salespersons,” right? WRONG!

It just gets dumber and dumber. We keep getting the same lousy results and yet we have not substantively changed the hiring practices in most organizations. It is mind-boggling! I believe Albert Einstein had something clever to say about this phenomenon being related to insanity.

Whatever methods (legal and ethical of course) you use, you need to discover at least these SIX key things about your candidates BEFORE you hire.

A. Attitude: Is theirs one of abundance and can do, or scarcity and focused on obstacles?

B. Brains: Can they do the job or learn quickly how to do the job?

C. Character: What are their core personal values?

D. Drive: Are they self-motivated to achieve their goals and yours?

E. Experience: What have they done in the past that prepares them or makes them ready for what you want them to do now?

F. FIT: Will they truly FIT into your culture, your organizational values, help you accomplish your mission, and advance your vision?

If you said “NO” or “I Can’t Tell,” to even ONE of these questions about the candidate, do not hire that person. Seriously – don’t do it!

Trust the answers to your ABCDEF questions and trust your GUT. If the person doesn’t feel right to you or others, he/she probably isn’t right. In any case, it’s rarely, if ever, worth the risk to you and your team.


About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.


The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

The Advisor’s Corner – How do I ask for a raise or promotion?

How do I ask for a raise or promotion?Question:

How do I ask for a raise or promotion?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

Think about it this way – you lose nothing by advocating for the pay and position you deserve. If the answer you receive is ‘no,’ then you’ll be right where you are now except you will know a lot more about whether or not you should stay.

Reframe your thinking. While you certainly have everything to do with the way the job is being done, there is more. When you take the emotion out of it, you will be talking to your boss about the business value of the job you are doing. This can help the conversation to be data driven vs. personal.

5 TIPS to Help You Self-advocate

1. Know yourself. Make sure you are 100% sure the job you are doing IS actually a great job. Ask for feedback about what you are doing well and what you can do better from your boss, peers, customers, and if you have them, direct reports. Write down what they say and keep a log. Another part of knowing yourself is knowing what you are and are not willing to do for that promotion. Are the hours longer, is there travel, do you have to manage others? All of these factors will impact your life. So consider what matters most to you.

2. Know your stuff. Make sure your work is truly adding value to your company/organization and be prepared to prove it. Speak to your results – behavioral and business. Your behaviors are critical to your success. Do you ‘play well with others?’ What about your business results? Answering the questions about your behavior and business results will help you think clearly about what data you need to collect.

3. Know your people. Make sure you know how your boss needs to hear and see things. Does he/she like just the facts, conceptual framework, objectivity, ideas? If you don’t know, you’re missing the train. HOW you ask is as important as WHAT you ask. This includes timing. Don’t have this conversation in the midst of a crisis, on Friday afternoon, or just before you or your boss go on vacation. Have it when you are prepared, he/she has a heads up (bosses don’t like surprises) that you’d like to discuss changes/new expectations/results in your role.

4. Know your system. Make sure you know how and when your organization allows for raises. Is there a new job description needed? Is there a pay scale system that can back you up? Are raises only given once a year or are there bonuses, etcetera? Talk to your HR people to learn what is possible in your system.

5. Know your options. Make sure you are aware of your and your job’s value in the market place. Search Salary.com, Glassdoor.com and job sites like Monster.com, Snagajob.com for a similar job to yours or the job you want to be doing. Identify the education/experience/competencies needed to be qualified, and then do some ‘mining’ of the data that’s out there on the internet. You now have even more objective data to include if it supports your request.

Finally, if you feeling undervalued, ask yourself why you feel this way. Is it your relationship with your boss or is it the job or is it the pay or some combination? Sometimes we confuse these. Getting objective will help. When you know the answers and have collected your data, you are ready to change what needs to change – your pay, your title, your boss, your job, your company, or… yourself.


About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.


The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].