Author Topic: Is this bad business or good sense....  (Read 5807 times)

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SingMeAway

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Is this bad business or good sense....
« on: January 01, 2013, 04:38:38 PM »
If you have an employee that you are thinking of getting rid of, is it bad form to advertise to fill their job before you've talked to them or is that perfectly good sense? Seems a bit skeazy to me, but on the other hand, it means you're not left short-handed.

I can provide more info if needed; it's a rather long story, so I kept the details to a minimum.

Ceallach

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 04:56:42 PM »
Good sense. Hiring is a lengthy process, it should be started as soon as you know for sure there is a definite need. (Where I live firing is also a lengthy process, it's not unusual for the two to be done at the same time over a matter of weeks).  Delays can greatly increase the negative impact and workload on other staff.

From an etiquette perspective I think discretion is important.  It could be humiliating for the person to discover there are plans to replace them.  It's important for the managers to be discreet (not tell other staff - need to know only), and also to show consideration in the way they advertise and interview.
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Deetee

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 05:25:52 PM »
Good business sense.
 If the firing is inevitable, it is important not to be left short handed. This is not a marriage where it is innappropriate to be interviewing a replacement while the position is still filled.
 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 05:26:43 PM »
I think it is fine to begin the candidate search discreetly before informing the employee.  But please inform them before you bring the new hire in.  Twice I've been hired for a position to arrive on my first day to learn the employee I was replacing was still there and had not been informed they were being replaced.  In neither case was the employee being let go, just reassigned to "special projects". So when I arrived I was introduced as filling a different role and them not coming clean with the employee or other staff for a couple of weeks in both cases.  It made me very uncomfortable to be one of the few aware of the organizational changes that were coming.

Snooks

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 06:29:27 PM »
I think this might be regional because where I live I suspect the person in the job would have grounds for legal action if that happened.

Sharnita

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 06:48:08 PM »
I agree that there might be legal implications.  I am alos not sure how it might make your business look if it got out to other businesses, customers, etc.

lady_disdain

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 08:04:42 PM »
If a person is unhappy with their job, they usually begin searching for a job before quitting.

It is just the same with a business.

gramma dishes

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 08:10:40 PM »
I think this might be regional because where I live I suspect the person in the job would have grounds for legal action if that happened.

I'm asking this sincerely.  What would the grounds be for legal action pursued by the person already holding the position?

Ceallach

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 08:16:55 PM »
I agree that there might be legal implications.  I am alos not sure how it might make your business look if it got out to other businesses, customers, etc.

I don't understand how it could look bad that you are managing your workforce planning and capacity in order to manage your business effectively?    Nor the employee's legal regress.

Of course, a manager should be addressing any work issues with the employee as they arise.   No employee should ever be blindsided by a "you're underperforming" conversation when they're previously thought everything was going wonderfully.  I have known terrible managers who do this, but it's absurd.   Anytime one of my staff is doing something wrong or there are areas that require improvement, I address it.   As far as I'm concerned it's win-win, either they'll step up and perform to the required standards, or they'll decide to leave.   (Or I'll have to officially begin termination processes).  If it gets to the point where I'm clear the only way is out, then I'll start the hiring process for a replacement, whilst also starting formal disciplinary processes to initiate termination.   

I do acknowledge that there are a lot of terrible managers out there though.  So yes, hypothetically if a manager has just randomly decided they don't like Ted, and they then go through the process of hiring Joe, and wait until he's ready to start then fire Ted without warning, then yes they're jerks.    But they're not rude for hiring before firing, they're rude for not addressing Ted's performance issues and giving him the opportunity to address them - and yes, possibly breaking the law if there are *no* legitimate performance issues and they're just replacing him for no reason!  So that's a whole separate issue IMHO that relates to Ted's employment contract and management.  The actual etiquette issue of the timing of beginning the search for a replacement is a no brainer to me, as long as it's handled appropriately.
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Sharnita

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 08:31:39 PM »
Let's say this is a restaurant or something along those lines.  I am looking for a venue or somebody to cater an event.  They have gotten rid of somebody I know in this matter.  I hear the story.  To me this seems to reflect a bit of dishonesty on how they deal with what is going on.  If they are not up front with their employees can I trust them to be up front with their customers?  Might they shine me on too?  Maybe it is best not to risk it.

Deetee

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 09:05:06 PM »
Let's say this is a restaurant or something along those lines.  I am looking for a venue or somebody to cater an event.  They have gotten rid of somebody I know in this matter.  I hear the story.  To me this seems to reflect a bit of dishonesty on how they deal with what is going on.  If they are not up front with their employees can I trust them to be up front with their customers?  Might they shine me on too?  Maybe it is best not to risk it.

Can you explain a bit more? If, as Caellach said, they got rid of someone without a warning that  the person was underperforming or giving them a chance to improve that would reflect badly on the company. I agree with that.

But that seems almost seperate from looking to hire someone while getting rid of another employee. As long as the employee is being let go in an appropriate fashion (and we don't need to get into legalities as many places allow firing in an "impolite" fashion) the nature of the finding of the  replacement would  seem inconsequential.

Sharnita

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 09:15:41 PM »
The situaiont describes knowing and looking for the replacement before letting the person know they will be let go.  To me that smacks of dishonesty and would not be inconsequential to me as a customer.  The fact that they approached it this way strikes me as not fully on the up and up and if they are that way with workers then I am not sure I trust them with my business.  If they know they plan they to get rid of an employee and they start looking for a replacement because it is in their best interest, but don't do the courtesy of letting the employee know - especially in this economy so the employee has a chance to start to see to their interests, it just seems underhanded. it makes me wonder if they would deal with customers and other businesses in the same manner.

NyaChan

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 09:28:16 PM »
I've really enjoyed the askmanager.com site and I believe the writer does address this issue.  If I remember correctly, the advice was really situation specific, but it was recommended that before firing someone, it is good to let them know that their job is in danger and the things they need to do to improve their performance, and if nothing else, it should never be a shock to someone that their job performance has been so bad that they are getting fired.  If you need to start looking ahead of time, I don't think that is wrong.  I think that is a separate issue from how you treat the employee.

blarg314

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 09:33:44 PM »
I'm curious how this works in practice.  In my field, outright firings are very unusual - either someone has tenure, and you're stuck with them, or it's a matter of not renewing their contract.

I can think of lots of very good reasons for doing this, though.

There are some jobs where an employee is not, by policy, told that they are about to be let go until the moment it happens - generally jobs where they could sabotage things out of pique (handling finances, for example) or where there would be issues of industry security (taking client info with them). In those cases, waiting to post a job listing until after an employee has been let go would be foolish on the employer's part.

And in general, people who have been told that they are being fired for poor performance tend not to improve in performance after this is announced. They aren't going to get a good job reference anyways, so there's a strong temptation to do as bad a job as possible.  For customer service jobs, for example, this could damage the businesses - customers faced with a surly and incompetent employee out to make trouble are not likely to come back. There's also the possibility that a person who is told that they're being fired will walk out immediately, leaving the job undone.

Having a restaurant or catering position filled by a vengeful (rather than just incompetent) employee strikes me as a bad idea for your business.

For jobs that have to be filled at all times, I think this would be necessary.  It takes time to hire someone - post the job notice, wait a reasonable amount of time for applications to come in, read the applications, schedule and conduct job interviews, make a decision, make an offer, maybe make another offer if the applicant has already taken a different job. Some positions can be filled by basically hiring an applicant off the street, but the more specialized or skilled a job is, the longer it can take to find the right person. Starting the process only after firing the employee could seriously hamper the business.

I agree with PPs that except in extreme cases (dangerous behaviour or legal impropriety, for example) poorly performing employees should get feedback and a chance to improve before being let go.

Sharnita

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Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 09:43:57 PM »
I've really enjoyed the askmanager.com site and I believe the writer does address this issue.  If I remember correctly, the advice was really situation specific, but it was recommended that before firing someone, it is good to let them know that their job is in danger and the things they need to do to improve their performance, and if nothing else, it should never be a shock to someone that their job performance has been so bad that they are getting fired.  If you need to start looking ahead of time, I don't think that is wrong.  I think that is a separate issue from how you treat the employee.

To me it would not be a separate issue.  Wouldn't be to my checkbook.  I would venture to guess that at least some people would feel the same.  It would be a gamble that might or might not be worth it.  Probably depends on the type of business, how quickly word gets around  in the city/town in question, who the employee in question knows, etc.