People being terminated from their jobs is something we have all seen and many of us have experienced. As an HR consultant, I have been involved in my share of terminations and I will never be comfortable with this aspect of my professional life. My real concern currently is that the termination option is used too readily by many businesses as a solution to either poor hiring practices or poor management practices or in many cases, both. I am also appalled but not surprised to hear that many companies are adopting the practice of “trying people out” and selecting who they feel is the best of the lot. Unfortunately, they usually don’t tell the person being hired that they are on trial and that the chances of staying with the company are quite slim.
Of course, it is common practice that new employees go through a probationary period which should be designed to not only allow the company to determine if they’ve made the right choice but as much to give the new employee the opportunity to do the same. But there are a number of companies who knowingly hire people under the revolving door concept. In other words, they assume a number of hires won’t work out and are quite comfortable with going through the process again in three months. As bizarre as it sounds, this is normal business practice in some companies.
My point is that this “Revolving door” idea is an incredibly expensive way of doing business. And, it flies in the face of treating people with respect. It is demoralizing, deceitful and frankly, an abdication of responsibility by companies that don’t provide hiring managers with proper recruitment skills or with the skills to allow them to effectively manage employees. The idea of knowingly hiring someone who has a 50% chance of working out is just plain poor business practice, it is expensive, insensitive, and sends the wrong message to the existing employees.
I am not suggesting that companies should live with non-performers, quite the contrary. My point is that too many companies give managers the latitude to unilaterally decide if someone won’t make the “grade” and, by doing so, support the idea that this is acceptable business practice. Anyone who has been terminated knows the emotional trauma that’s experienced. So, why have we become dehumanized to the point of not really caring about what the terminated employee has to go through and more importantly, what should companies do about?
First, they should understand the significant costs of “planned” turnover. This is measured in the time which managers and others spend in the process, recruitment fees, lost productivity, training costs, lost sales, customer perceptions, lower employee morale, and the degradation of often very decent and capable people. Many studies on the true costs of turnover indicate that they range anywhere from 1-2X the annual salary of the terminated employee.
Planned turnover is a very expensive way of doing business and the approach can be altered if the hiring managers are trained in all aspects of interviewing and selection and managers and supervisors are trained in the basic skills of effective people management. In my experience, it is rare indeed to find a manager who has received training in interviewing and selection and rarer still to find someone with a natural instinct for recruiting excellent people. They do exist but in very very small numbers.
As professional recruiters at TwoGreySuits we have mastered both parts of the equation and as an integral part of our recruiting assignments, we work with the client hiring manager to bring them up to speed on both, thus increasing the likelihood of long term job success.
In conclusion, planned turnover at the point of hire is very expensive, demoralizing, and more importantly can and should be changed as an accepted way of doing business.
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