Hiring Before Firing

Human Resources

Understanding the challenges in creating a workplace of choice and a business that customers will recommend and return to 

When you first established your business what was one of the things that people said to you when you began to expand; “If you are prepared to hire you must be prepared to fire”.

Hiring can be gruelling, when it takes a long time to find someone but it is the fun side of business, having someone new start in the company with fresh ideas and a new set of eyes, but when that person doesn’t have the same enthusiasm 3 months later you now have to consider termination and the difficult conversation that so many business owners don’t like having.

Over the past two decades I have hired many employees for my own business as well as consulted for others and I will be honest it is easier to terminate someone when you are a consultant than it is to terminate one of your own staff, no matter how bad a fit they are in your business.

However, recruitment and termination are part of every day business life so I’ve put together 12 challenges that if considered at the outset may assist you in not having as many difficult conversations. I won’t say never as that is not the case, there will always be someone who is the “square peg in the round hole”.

To me it’s all about creating a VIP Team with the same values and work ethic that will grow the business as well as work under pressure and as a team.


1. The challenge of recruiting a VIP team

Take the time to really assess the candidates don’t rush, which so often happens when we have to fill a position and we ourselves are busy. Too often, what you see is “warm body recruitment”: if you turn up at the front door, you are hired. Recruit with the end result in mind and never in desperation.

Using Behavioural profiling tools for key staff as well as for frontline staff can be very useful. Remember you are recruiting an employee for a role not a friend to have coffee with.


2. The challenge of assessing candidates

Depending on your business look at how the candidate is dressed when they arrive for their interview, does it look like they have taken the time to learn about your business and dress accordingly? Wearing a suit to an ultra modern night club may not fit the bill, nor does wearing cut off jeans and a T shirt for an office role.

The questions asked of candidates at job interviews, and the person who is doing the asking are clearly key. Take the time to write out a good job description and questions that relate to the role. For those who get easily distracted having set questions that must be answered by each candidate takes away the situation where you only ask some of the questions to some of the candidates as it is then not a fair or balanced appraisal of all candidates.


3. The challenge of selecting and inducting your VIP team 

So often a new person is introduced to the team, given a day or two of training and then are left on their own, to scared to ask questions, because they feel “dumb” by not knowing what to do. A correct induction and training that is thorough with regular and timely follow-up assessments that include clear feedback to that probationary team member is critical. It also gives the new team member a structured time to ask questions.


4. The challenge of dealing with younger team members

The workplace has multiple Generations working alongside each other and the days where we promoted on tenure and not talent are long gone (or should be). Gen Y and the up and coming Z employees will work hard but want to be recognised quickly, they won’t work for 10 years or even 2 years in the shadows. Recognition of their efforts and a reward through a promotion is important to many of them.


5. The challenge of building a multi-cultural team 

As the world becomes increasingly smaller through social media and people travelling to work in countries all around the world, having employees who are able to speak another language is a great asset in business. Too often over the years I have asked CEO’s how many languages do your employees speak and am told “I don’t know, not many” and then when employees are asked this question it is more than 3 out of 5 who can. You cannot always assume because a person looks a certain way that they can or can’t speak another language other than English.

Avoid labeling people and stereotyping diverse groups. Diversity in the workplace is critical in growing a business whether it be the local shop or a multi national, because customers are from diverse backgrounds.


6. The challenge of creating a workplace of choice

So often businesses offer their customers beautiful surroundings, top of the range coffee and crockery while their staff room is a space to be filled with last years Christmas decorations, old broken furniture, paper cups and a coffee that is recognisable only by the colour certainly not by taste.

Staff rooms can be a great space to share ideas and for team members to get to know each other, particularly if they are shift workers. A photo wall where team members have their photos posted with a short personal introduction is a great way to create team harmony, of course privacy is adhered too.


7. The challenge of continuous improvement

Continuous improvement in every role is critical for a business to grow and for a workplace to be challenging and exciting for each of the team members. To often as business owners we don’t ask the questions from the team on what the company could do better, or ask them about client feedback or what they have seen or heard on social media that is working really well and could be used in the business.


8. The challenge of building team loyalty

Over they years many surveys have been done with employees through large market research institutions that show that a pay rise is not the number one thing that employees want, more often it is recognition from their Manager and CEO that creates long term loyalty to the company.

Sharing your ideas and getting their input is so important to all employees but especially for Gen & and Z.


9. The challenge of wellbeing in the workplace

Promoting mental health in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. At any given time one in five employees is likely to be experiencing a mental health condition. As a VIP manager, you need to take care of yourself, look out for others and know your rights and where to seek help for your team members.

There are a number of organisations who can assist with promotional material and hotlines. Team members need to feel safe in the workplace, that they can come forward and talk to someone and not be judged. Both in the public and private sector there are businesses who don’t walk the talk, but have gotten on the “band wagon” to be seen as doing something. Don’t be one of these.


10. The challenge of rostering/scheduling your team

If your workplace requires rosters for shift workers or even handling team members who have commitments outside the workplace or for reasons of transport, you must be open to think outside the 9-5 mentality. The world is now connected 24 hours a day, are there opportunities for some staff to work from home late at night, just because their in their PJ’s doesn’t mean their not productive.

In businesses where there are shift workers it is creating a team that works well together, however, when holidays occur filling the gap with an “outsider” although they may know the role very well, making them feel welcome within the shift team is critical for all team members to be productive.


11. The challenge of engaging your local community

We all spend more time at work than we do at home, if you don’t count sleeping so it is important to build a team that works well together. Over the years many businesses have had team bonding days, engaged in competitive games which has been good for that quick fix of team unity. However, working as a group for the local community on a particular project is very fulfilling. I will be honest the first time you put something together you will get a small handful but when they return and share their experience the next time there will be more. Wearing the company T Shirt while cleaning the local beach, giving blood or part of a charity day, such as “Relay for Life” or “Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea”, is a great way to engage the local community through socially responsible causes and build team unity.

This kind of group effort really makes an appreciable difference in how people relate to each other in the workplace as well as the community.


12. The challenge of building a genuinely caring and compassionate team

A compassionate VIP Manager leads a compassionate team.

Customer experience through the engagement they have with your team members is what sets your business apart from your competitors.

VIP team members make the effort because they genuinely care about the business, their peers, management and the customer.

Building a team with aligned values is not a quick fix; perseverance and persistence is required to get the best from your team.

Before recruiting or if you are restructuring take a moment to look at these 12 Challenges, planning and preparation with a touch of inspiration and natural intuitiveness will make a big difference in your business.

Michelle Pascoe

at Michelle Pascoe

Professional Speaker, Trainer, Coach & Author. I live and breathe my passion for customer service, mystery shopping and team motivation. I'm an experienced businesswomen & specialist in every aspect of service operations & processes and their impact on the customer experience. As an international speaker and accredited trainer & assessor, I combine my extensive experience and specialised knowledge with an absolute commitment to igniting the potential in each individual.

Comments (1)
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Very well written piece with a wealth of information. It is definitely worth the upfront effort to think about how a new person will fit in long term (and not grabbing the first person even if they are qualified). I also believe the opposite is true (as I've gone through this myself). Don't drag out the hiring process to the point where you are losing interested and qualified potential hires. You can't expect a gifted candidate to pass on other opportunities as you continue to spin your wheels. Be honest and transparent about estimated time for the process. Also something to keep in mind is look to hire people that are willing to work their way out of the current position. Meaning, someone that will grow into a new position and help you fill their existing role with the next qualified person. Passion and leadership are both things that feed off of themselves and grow from being around other individuals with those tendencies. Notice that I specifically call out "tendencies". When you first bring someone on, it may not be a leadership role, but they should still have opportunities to explore their interest but as career development or just mentoring or cross-training other employees with their knowledge base.