Saturday, June 4, 2016

4 Things I Learned When I Fired Someone For the First Time

I questioned myself over and over again whether I’m right to fire this person. Did I do enough as a manager? Have I tried giving enough support and guidance? Or are their shortcomings something I cannot fix and firing them is the final step after providing that support and guidance? Here’s what I’ve learned about hiring and firing someone who is fairly junior in the working world.

1. Have a more thorough interview process
If I had seen more of what they’re capable of in the interview, I might not have hired them in the first place. I had some tests in place, but after this experience I’m definitely going to up the ante. So ask yourself: Is there a way to test their skills? Request copies of their previous work (or request school projects from fresh grads), give them more than one test, and try to see evidence of their performance. I took every interview question I could find from more experienced coworkers, business books and magazines, and this junior performed really well in the interview: she looked good on paper and is a pro at social situations, really easy with her answers and body language, but the devil was in the details of her work, which I hadn’t looked at closely enough. 

2. Spend more time in the beginning investing in them
At a start-up, there never feels like enough time, especially in the early stages. My regular meetings with the team grew further and further apart, and when things really got tough I ended up delegating more and supervising less. I knew there were some problems, but they felt secondary compared to launching new projects and meeting business objectives. I’ve learned that I should have pushed all of that back and kept those regular meetings to provide that support. 

3. Set standards and deadlines for improvement, so that it’s easier to see when people are not meeting them. 
This seems obvious, but in my case I had a slightly indefinite deadline for when this person improves. They had started out as “good enough” and I just wanted them to stay and grow in the company; I didn’t want to consider firing them as an option. But after I implemented a more regimented meeting schedule, set standards for work and deadlines for improvement, I began to see results a lot faster and my answer crystallised: under more structured stress, the junior began to perform better in some ways but still failed to grow in others, and that was clear enough to see that that lack of growth in key areas meant that she wouldn’t be able to hack it in the long term.

4. Fire them early.
This sounds harsh, but it’s honestly the better option over dragging out a bad fit. If I had just let them go sooner within the first 4 months, both I and the junior would have benefitted from it: I would have saved more time by letting them go and finding a better fit sooner, and she wouldn’t have settled into the role and the company, and worst of all, settled into a substandard routine. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cost of living, millennials and open letters.

Buzzword: millennial.

25-year-old yelp employee called Talia wrote an open letter to her CEO about pay and cost of living, then was fired. She also wrote this cracked article from a few years ago and I can only imagine how that adds to her current struggles.
29-year-old called Stephanie came along shamed the 25-year-old in her own open letter, before a 36-year-old called Sara destroyed the 29-year-old’s whiny piece.
Then a GQ millennial wrote this satire gem piece and ruined the 29-year-old and won the open letter millennial game.
(Cost of living in a post-crisis market is a real problem, but people get caught up on who threw shade and who won or lost these trending battles).
My new hero is Sara Lynn Michener

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Day 3: Mini-challenge at Circuit Factory

Oh my days. I feel like I've been mauled by a bear, crawled out of my grave with broken bones, walked across a snowy tundra and exacted revenge for my son's death.

No oscars for me though, I've just been going to a gym class at 5am this week. Today is day 3 with a rest day in between. I'm shattered. The gym owner kept calling me "Khaleesi" to motivate me which I appreciate, and yeah, most days I am the mother of dragons, but today I felt like the mother of suck-ass, last of the race, breaker of burpees.

But at the same time I feel good. You gotta start somewhere, so I might as well start in the winter of my 20s, with my soft teddy bear stature and low stamina. Here's to better health.