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Hiring and Firing With Humanity – A People Management Overview

There are very few things more significant in a business and cause more stress and anxiety all round than taking on staff and laying them off.

Which explains why so many people get it wrong so often. People naturally default to their accustomed pattern or routine when they’re stressed or the stakes are high. And this despite so much Human Resources expertise and advice so readily available around the world.

The consequence of getting hiring and firing wrong is not just very expensive, it can also have profound legal, reputational and human costs too.

The solutions are not particularly expensive or difficult to implement, but the positive impact can be really huge.

Hiring with humanity

I really like what am seeing here and…

  • This means put people, their specific value sets and their needs at the core of all hiring, not just technical, legal or regulatory compliance.
  • If not done already, the corporate brand must be created and settled. This is the strategic reference point for all people processes, among many other things.
  • Based on the organisation’s activities, it will be necessary to list the personality types required by the business in the short, medium and longer terms.
  • Determine the specific personality type(s) optimal for roles. In my article on team cohesion (Why Attempting to Change Staff Values to Fix Poor Team Working Is Futile), I go into some detail about the assets that each personality brings to your business.
  • Create and maintain the optimum eco-system for your people to thrive.
  • Team managers should have a publicised policy of having a “welcome do” for every new arrival. This can go a very long way to clearly demonstrating to the new team member how much the team and by extension the organisation values their decision to choose the company instead of the competition.

Firing with humanity

  • This means more than just being nice to people that are deemed to be no longer part of the company’s future.
  • The exit interview, like all communication in the organisation, must be focused on the outgoing member of staff and be conducted in their language, i.e. based on their values. If not, there is a high risk of resentment that can come back to bite the business, in all sorts of ways.

It will also do much more to showcase the nurturing side of the company to potential new employees than paid advertising could ever do.

  • The organisation would do well to utilise its in-depth knowledge of the departing team member’s qualities, capabilities and values to facilitate a link-up with potential new employers. This will not just make it that much easier for the outgoing staff to secure their next employment, it will also do much more to showcase the nurturing side of the company to potential new employees than paid advertising could ever do.
  • Firing managers should by default have a prepared letter of reference ready for the outgoing team member’s departure. It makes no business or human relationship sense to subject the departing staff to the humiliation of chasing after managers for references that will enable them to get their next job.
  • As a rule, firing managers should not miss the opportunity of a team-organised “leaving do” to make a lasting impression on the departing team member. The business intelligence gathered on such an occasion can prove extremely useful later on, quite apart from the warm fluffy feelings that the leaving staff would carry with them to their new ventures.


Random quote:

“Life is not about discovering our talents; it is about pushing our talents to the limit and discovering our genius.”

— Robert Brault


Apart from the in-house or bought-in HR specialists, hiring and firing managers or executives need additional skills that will enable them to fully understand the spectrum of personality types and crucially, how to engage with and leverage those differences for better team dynamics, productivity and profitability.

There are probably as many perspectives as there are people; what are your own experiences? Any particular horror stories? Which organisations stand out (positively or negatively) in the way they hire and fire?


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