Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Firing 101 : Aka why HR mad skills are important in your life too

The first thing that many non HR people ask when you tell them that you are working in Human Resources is:

" Can you get me a job in your company? Hahahahaaa! Just joking! But seriously... can you?"

"You work for Human Resources?" *deep silence wondering what the hell the HR person is doing at a barcamp/ devcamp / tweetup /geek meeting /IEEE meeting*

"So can you get me a job?"

But what many people do not realize that the other side of hiring is firing. You need to know how to lead up to a humane firing - there are no good means of firing someone. No one is going to look back and say that it is the best firing they ever had.

And what has that got to do with life actually?

Lets talk about relationships. And breaking up. ( Yeah, 10 points to the discerning ones who figured out that all is not well. Nothing to see here, move on!)

Breaking up with someone is quite similar to firing someone. And as the dumper and dumpee, you can always take a page from the HR.

Aaand.. here goes:

#1. Feedback, feedback, feedback.

This is one of the most overlooked, yet important aspects of breakup you can learn from good HR practices. As a good Manager will give an employee regular, straight forward feedback on how things are going, it makes sense to talk to your girl friend or boy friend about where you want things to be and what your expectations from them are. And men, going silent when the women talk about things do not work. Ladies, changing the subject is not the same as actually talking about it. And once in the process of dumping, can the feedback unless the other party asks for it and dont have any potential weaponry on their immediate vicinity.

#2. Don't do it in public.

As a good manager would never fire an employee in public, you should never dump someone in public expect when the said party is in an orgy of which you are not a part of.Ideally, this should happen in the dumpee's home and face to face, and you get extra points for thoughtfulness if you already bring everything they left at your place and hand it over to them. If it consists of kitchen knives, hockey sticks etc. then its better to send them via post - men, they might look tiny and fragile, but in these situations, you never know how they are going to react. If you are in a long distance relationship, a phone call initiated by the dumper should suffice.

#3. Deliver the message quickly.

A good manager will tell the employee the bad news within 20 seconds of them being in the room. Do not start the breakup out with a list of the stellar qualities of the dumpee. That would only make the other person wonder what if you have bipolar disease. Keep your tone neutral. Do not talk about getting back together after a break unless you really mean it. Women, this is how most stalking start. You are NOT being nice when you say, may be we can meet up later. No, no, no. Let them go. Ambivalence is for wimps and wimpettes.

#4. Don't give them the promotion, the cool assignment, the public awards.

Unless it is a layoff, a good Manager will not - and his HR manager will not allow him to do that anyway - do any of the three. Similarly, if you are planning to dump a person soon, never stay over or allow the person to stay over or allow them to leave their stuff around at your place, dont do favors for them, and do not meet their friends or introduce them to yours. Men, all of these are considered by women as signs that things are going good, you might just want to chat to her friends about getting a job. Women, just beacause a guy does all this does not mean that he is totally committed to you, it might just mean that he likes your friends and is a slob to leave stuff around.

#5.Respect the history

The way a good - okay, great - manager will fire an employee who has been with the company for many years is very different from the way she would do it with someone who has been with them for a few months. Respect the commitment made over time, respect the emotional investment.

#5. Don't cry. Don't beg. Don't blame. Don't look back.

This one is for the dumpee. One of the most unprofessional that you can do when you are fired is to breakdown in front of the person who is firing you. Use the rest rooms or the smoking balconies for that, in the company of your work friends. Dumpees, don't cry. Respect! Don't even think about begging to give it another chance. Don't start blaming just now. Take your time, reflect, and check out the new opportunity that you always wanted to try out. Life is too much full of awesomeness to brood over what is lost.

#6. Don't burn the bridges.

Good managers and smart employees never burn the professional bridges. I am not saying that exes must hang out - it depends on what both parties are comfortable with - but you never know - your ex might know some awesome people whom you haven't met yet. And I am not even talking about the midnight fringe benefits.

So.. what do you think? HR is pretty useful, eh? Would love to hear comments on this :)


AJ said...

Huh. its amazing what can cross over from professional to personal life. I apply a lot of my job in how I manage my marriage :) great read. whats the relationship version of a layoff? "its not you, its me?" "Im not looking for a relationship at this time" "I found someone else better...qualified???"

The Lonely Backpacker said...

So How many people have you fired ? :) ..

Anitha Balaraj said...

Good HR angle.. I really loved the post...

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Good post.Missed this one while clicking Mark all as read on G Reader.


donscave said...

Nailed It!

Jim said...

I wish you posted this four years ago...


But thanks anyway!

marry said...

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