It’s far easier to keep the people you have than it is to hire new ones. Here are five management tenets that are critically important to staffing success.
1. Recognize that people want to do well, so treat them well
Of course, this just provides further proof that I have the best IT staff on the planet.
2. Understand that people (usually) fire themselves… do it fast
I’ve written before that it’s important that people not be surprised that they’re being erased from the org chart — at least when it’s for performance or attitude reasons. Obviously, no matter how egregious the performance or attitude problems and no matter how many warnings have been provided, at that moment when you break the news, there will be surprise. However, after the shock subsides and the person is able to look back through the lens of time, I believe that, in hindsight, that surprise factor will lessen.
On this point, too, always use the probationary period as it was intended. Most organizations have a probationary period during which either the employer or the employee can opt out of the arrangement with or without cause. In many cases, this is done for fit reasons (in either direction) or if the employer discovers that the person is missing a key skill, although this should be caught during the interview. It’s much easier to take this step during the probationary period than it is later on. I will admit that I have fired someone during the probationary period due to fit, and I will admit, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. Keeping someone around that can’t fit or can’t carry his or her weight is a drag on the whole group.
3. Give feedback, ask for feedback, and mean it
Obviously, there are times that I disagree with their assessment, but we have a positive enough working relationship that, in most cases, they’re willing to accept it. Just as often, if not more often, they “win,” although that’s really too strong a word.