When it doesn’t work

Hands up if you have ever hired someone and it didn’t work out. Didn’t go as planned. Or maybe things were great for a while, and then they weren’t.  

Friends- it happens. Even the most experienced people managers out there make hiring decisions that in the end, just don’t work. 

And when it does happen, a lot of energy is spent parting ways with the person who didn’t work out. Rightfully so. Thoughtfully parting ways in a manner that preserves everyone’s dignity and manages risk to your business is important.

AND once that part is over, there is another very important step. Reflection.  

You need to take the time to reflect on the whole hiring, on-boarding and people managing process, and with benefit of hindsight, see where things went wrong. On your end. With you. Yes you.

That part can be really hard. Hard to hear and hard to do. But it’s only by taking a moment to pause and reflect on where things went wrong, that you get insight on what you would do differently next time. Reflection is where the learning happens. 

So today my dear reader I am sharing some jumping off points to help you with your reflection process. 

  • The job ad and/or position description– were they an accurate reflection of the role that the person was coming into? Did you advertise and hire for the role you thought you needed, or the actual role – the role that would be the reality for the person coming in. I see this over and over. We hire the perfect person for the role that we THINK we need, but that person is not a perfect fit for the ACTUAL role. And then it doesn’t work.
  • Interviews and reference checks – with the benefit of hindsight, what did your interview process and reference check system miss? What could you add in to help deal with those blind spots? And, is there anything that you need to take away? Something that distracted you from what you really needed to see? 
  • On-boarding – what was missing from your on-boarding process to help set the new hire up for success? What training/systems/processes needed to be added sooner? What training/systems/processes needed to be more detailed? What training isn’t working? 
  • Were there any red flags? Think about this one. There usually are, but we miss them, dismiss them or push them away because we don’t want to see them. So be honest with yourself and use hindsight to help you hunt for the red flags. And then ask yourself, have these come up for you before? And if so, how did that play out? And what can you add to your process to help you see these red flags sooner and then do something about them?

The biggest lesson in hiring for many of us is resisting the urge to fill a vacancy when you haven’t found the right person. This is when we may dismiss red flags. Especially when everyone is having to do extra work to make up for the fact that there is an empty seat. There is a real discipline in carrying a vacancy until you find the RIGHT person to fill the role. It might even take a failed search or two until you find the perfect person.   

But making that investment in time up front, taking the time to find the right person for that specific role will save you on the other end. Because parting ways with someone who does not work out is not pleasant. It’s not a position that anyone wants to be in. Especially the person you hired!  

So, when things don’t work out, take the time to pause and reflect so that you can learn from it. And, if you need someone to help you with the reflection process, you know who to call. Your favorite people whisperer. 

Until next week,
H