Recently this question was posed on a LinkedIn forum: Should you hire and fire?
Readers interpreted the question differently. Some said, “Hire slow and fire fast.” Most said, “Don’t hire anyone unless you’re prepared to invest in his/her retention and growth.”
Here’s my response (edited from what I posted):
With small companies, or companies going through fast growth, it’s best to hire contract workers rather than employees; they have a fixed term and you get a sense of who you want.
But you don’t get a completely free ride when you hire contract employees.
Performance reviews as well as decisions to put someone on probation, give written warnings, or (especially) fire even contract workers can lead to lawsuites. Therefore, when setting up your processes, you must get advice from a good employment attorney. I’m not a lawyer so my comments are based on first-hand experience.
I’ve heard of contract employees bringing suit because they claimed they were not re-hired due to sexual harassment, discrimination or other causes. These suits will eat your time and money budgets; they cause deep rifts in a company, destroying your most precious asset: a productive group of employees.
In a growing or changing environment, be aware that reference to “age’ or “career stage” can be interpreted as age discrimination (and in fact it probably is, in my non-legal opinion). If the EEOC gets interested, they will ask about documentation, so you need to be ready.
Apart from saving the hassle of a lawsuit, you’ll save everyone a lot of misery when you do things right the first time. I’ve seen first-hand what happens when a confused manager starts inventing stories to justify a poor evaluation. It ain’t pretty.
What do you think? If you don’t see a comment box, click on the title of this post and share your thoughts.