HR Admin | By Tom Murphy,

Are Your Employees Failing? Examine Your Hiring (and Firing) Processes.

Ever hired someone who seems to have the right skills, attitude and desire to succeed only to watch them flounder in their new position?

This can be super frustrating for managers, coworkers, and HR. Not to mention your underperforming employees, who may not only be taking up vast amounts of time and energy, but also quietly thinking about hitting the road. Talk about wasted resources!

Ensuring employee success is critical to the health of your business. The good news is that there are ways to help increase your employee success ratio. And it all starts with you.

Let’s talk about hiring

If you’re looking to fill positions, it probably means you’ve got more work than you can handle. This can make rushing, delaying, or winging the hiring process seem really tempting. Don’t do it! This is one of those areas where taking the shortcut won’t get you where you want to go.

What’s your hiring process like? Do you have a detailed plan or are you flying by the seat of your pants? Do you involve people from the team or leave it up to hiring managers? Are you primarily focused on hard skills, soft skills, or cultural fit? How will that affect your search?

Let’s face it. When you have a well-designed plan to follow, you’re much more likely to find the right people for the right positions. Take the time to develop a strategy for who and how you want to hire by:

  • Rethinking roles and tasks
  • Rewriting job descriptions
  • Reassessing how you determine who is a good candidate
  • Reexamining who is involved in interviews and decision making
  • Restructuring your hiring processes to align with your new goals
  • Revamping your onboarding program

No, these things aren’t necessarily quick and easy, but investing your time wisely on the front end can save you huge amounts of time, frustration and money in the long run.

And Firing

Even with the best hiring practices in place, you will occasionally discover an employee who is stuck in the wrong position and unable to live up to his or her full potential. This doesn’t mean you have to fire that person and start all over again.

Once you’ve determined the problem, you may be able to address it through cross training activities, adjusting job functions, or considering that person for other positions as they become available.

What about hiring from within?

Let’s talk about internal moves and promotions. They’re great, right? Absolutely! Not only can they help put people in the right seats, they can also provide career paths for motivated employees and increase retention rates. Just beware of promoting your top performers away from their core strength areas.

If you’ve got a salesperson who excels at bringing in new business, think carefully before “rewarding” her with a Sales Manager position. These are two very different skill sets, and being good at one doesn’t mean she’ll automatically be good at the other. If you move a high performing rock star into a position that’s a struggle, the effects can be devastating, both for that individual, and for your ROI.

Yes, by all means, promote your best people. Just do it in a way that continues to allow them to excel.

Can firing be good?

It happens, even in the best of companies. Perhaps you’ve got a few people who just aren’t feelin’ it. They don’t buy into your mission. They’re just punching the clock. They’re sabotaging your efforts and spreading ill will. Clearly these folks hopped on the wrong bus. The thing is, you’re the driver. You let them on, and now it’s your job to help them off.

A few tips to make this process go smoothly:

  • Document what’s not working
  • Have a meeting to discuss current performance and future career visions
    • Who knows? Maybe there’s an easy fix!
    • Set realistic goals and agree on measurements for success
  • Document again
    • If all is going well, great!
    • If not…
  • Set that person free

Often, unhappy employees want to leave their jobs. They’re just too scared to do it. Meanwhile, the negative energy they emit brings the whole team down. Letting these individuals go can set them on a path to where they really want to be. And set you on the path to building a more consistent and positive company culture.

Paving the path to employee success

When you have an employee who isn’t working out, it’s easy to place the blame squarely on that person. And sometimes you’ll be right. But if you have consistent problems with turnover or want to improve your overall success rate, it’s time to take a look at the big picture.

Are you hiring the right people? Are they in the right positions? Are you hanging on to people you need to let go?

Your HR processes should be moving you forward, not holding you back. Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at yours.


Running into challenges with employee engagement, turnover, and retention? At Sonus Benefits, we’ve got ideas to help you address these issues and more. There’s so much more to employee benefits than policies and premiums. Are you confident your policies and processes are doing what they need to ensure that your company—and your employees— are healthy and productive?

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