Thursday, September 24, 2009

HR Realities - Being the Hammer

Sometimes when working as an embedded consultant within a business, human resource functions fall under my contract. Within this realm as we all know is the hiring and terminating of individuals from the business. This is often not a fun process and I admire those in HR who are able to sever relationships with people at one level and maintain it at another. Though it may not be fun, it is necessary and a single question ultimately should guide you: What is BEST for the business?

I know this seems simplistic, but it is the best tool I have found to make clear determinations about the action of hiring and firing. We ultimately deal with jobs and performance. To think that we are in the business of "helping people" (at least as a consultant) is not the case. What surprised me today in "being the hammer" was how easy it was. In this case, the individual was a liar, an under performer and the team had to create "work around" for his emotional and personal outbursts. When I notified some distributors and suppliers of this change, the universal response was "what took so long?"

I was both surprised and then a bit chastised by these comments. What had taken me so long to make this move? I stopped asking the ONE KEY question and started asking other less meaningful questions, or worse, I started making statements. "We are in a recession, times are tough." "Won't coaching and counseling help?" "He is good at [insert skill here], doesn't he deserve one more chance?" In retrospect, these questions seem silly and even sophomoric, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I gave every opportunity for the individual to come on board. The enormous sense of relief, stability and resolve I felt after today validates the one key question. It was best for the business, and ultimately will be best for the terminated individual.

So, be the hammer - or ask you consultant to do it for you!

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