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Slow to hire, quick to fire- what’s behind employee retention


Reducing staff turnover and holding on to your organization’s talent helps your organization save on hiring and training costs and it helps increase employee morale and satisfaction. An agile, dynamic personnel model can help to ignite passions; create a cohesive community; engender a servant leadership culture; promote entrepreneurial drive; and foster role mobility. Having the right people working together, all with different capabilities, enables organizations to move with unprecedented speed, drives innovation, increases customer satisfaction, and boosts operational performance. Employees feel more engaged and enthused by a clear and common purpose, the autonomy to make decisions, and an ability to develop mastery in their craft. On the organization level, agile emphasizes prioritization and reduces overhead roles – a strategy which leads to more efficiency.
The essence of an agile transformation is reimagining the organization as a network of high-performing teams supported by an effective, stable backbone of strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology. According to a Mckinsey report on the impact of agility, highly successful agile transformations typically delivered around 30 percent gains in efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and operational performance; made the organization five to ten times faster; turbocharged innovation; and showed up as a competitive advantage.
To benefit fully from agility, new personnel processes are required, and as the business evolves, positions change, and roles need to be realigned. As you review your talent and strategize, “Hire slow and fire fast” might come to mind. Many leaders swear by it, but what does this mean, and is this a helpful model for your business? Let us review: To hire slow means to hire with intention, not reaction.

  • Do not recycle an old job description template. Write a clear job description and define the skills and attributes required for business sustainability, such as long-term business success, succession, team dynamics, and long-term role effectiveness, not just short-term projects and business needs.

  • Create a standardized interview to allow you to compare candidates fairly. Biases can push us to hire a candidate who may not be a fit or to pass on the best candidate, so take your time. Do not hire after just one or two interviews; get perspectives from others in your organization.

Firing fast is admitting that you may have made a hiring mistake, confronting the issue head-on, having difficult conversations, and parting ways. It is hard to make these decisions that will impact the organization negatively in the short term because you will be short-staffed again and will have spent time and money onboarding a new employee. However, in the long-term, it is ultimately for the organization’s benefit if the employee is not a fit. Remember that “the perfect match” does not exist, and if you are unsure about a candidate you hired after three months, it is not a fit.

MBA Growth Partners can help you develop an agile talent management model that is easy to use, assesses if your team has outgrown their roles, and has a knowledge management process that collects transferable importation information from employees when they transition on a good note. Organizations that achieved a highly successful agile transformation had a three times higher chance of becoming a top-quartile performer among peers than those who had not transformed.