Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. It happens when employers need to reduce their workforce.
There’s something about the King’s proper English that makes everything sound nicer or more official. They even have a different word for “firing” someone. While “redundancy” traditionally means a reduction in force, it is typically used as a placeholder for every situation of someone being removed from their job. I first became acquainted with this term while watching the original British version of The Office sitcom.
But “firing” is no laughing matter and is one of the requirements of running a business. And unfortunately, it is something that most of us don’t do very well. What we typically see is…
Quick to hire
Slow to coach or course redirect
Almost unable to fire.
None of us are comfortable with firing. We can’t even bring ourselves to use the word. We alternatively use terms like “reduction in force”, “laying off”, “business separation”, “let them go”, etc. We work with very high integrity business leaders that typically have a very hard time coming to the conclusion that they need to fire someone. They are often trying to make their faith real in their work.
We often find ourselves in the challenging position of actually encouraging them to make this decision. We encourage…
Slow to hire
Quick to coach or course redirect
Quick to fire
We had an employee at the first contracting business we purchased that was one of the most delightful people I had ever met. He was enthusiastic and a genuinely nice person. Someone who made you want to invest. We cared for and loved on him in a way he had never experienced in his professional life. We invested in him with coaching, compensation, new benefits, and one of our partners even gave him a car when he needed one.
But we started to change expectations, established new processes, and accountability. Something changed in him. He wasn’t as comfortable with that type of environment or those kinds of expectations. We started to add to the team and he got a little lost in terms of his position on the team.
After some coaching and challenging conversations, we made the difficult decision to fire him.
He was angry and disillusioned. How could people that cared for him and invested in him so much, let him go?
He called last week…to thank us. In fact, he was effusive in his thanks and acknowledgment of all that had been done for him while working for us. He had done what very few people have the courage to do when trials come their way:
He soul searched.
He took account of things.
He took ownership.
…And started making big decisions in his life.
He lost 40 pounds.
He started a business that makes his heart come alive.
Maybe the fact that we invested so much and felt like we did everything we could to help him succeed had something to do with that. Maybe because of how we treated him in his employment made him look internally in his firing. We would like to think so and the feedback seemed to indicate the same.
We’re aggressively applying the best practices we teach our clients to our own businesses. And we feel like God has established an audacious standard for us:
Applicant’s lives should be positively changed whether we hire them or not.
Employee’s lives should be positively changed whether they stay employed or get fired.
Prospective customer’s lives should be positively changed whether they hire us or not.
Our hope is that at every interaction, including the more challenging ones, there would be real and measurable change in the lives of others.
Are you comfortable firing when it is required?
Is it a moral conscience issue related to your faith or beliefs or to not having done what you could have to help them succeed?
Do you need to change the way you interview, onboard, invest in, and fire?
What is it costing you to not do these things well?