Hire Slow Fire Fast. This is an old HR
phrase that I used in last week’s post. This message makes a lot of sense. The
more time you take hiring someone the better the odds are that they will be a
match for the role and your organization. But, even when you do hire slow,
sometimes the employee isn’t a match and they need to leave.
When it comes to the sales rep who would
know better than the sales manager when it’s time to let them go. It could be
underperforming, misrepresenting the company, not being a cultural fit, or a
combination of all of the above. You need to involve HR. You need to get your
HR manager apprised of the situation and on your side to remove the bad rep.
You want HR to have your back. What happens when you don’t necessarily see eye
to eye on the firing process?
I’ve been faced with this challenge and
it is not easy to deal with at times. I asked my HR manager, Tori, to chime in
on this topic. What would stop her from having her managers back? I was
surprised at how simple her answer was: paperwork. She will have her managers
back all day long if there is a paperwork trail.
Sales managers and their reps have a
relatively unique relationship. They tend to spend more time together than even
members of the executive team. Whether they are doing ride along’s, in training
sessions, having coffee, or simply reviewing a client account, the amount of
time spent between manager and rep is significant. And, because of this, very
often there are conversations being had where the manager is giving advice and
guidance that should be documented and delivered to the rep (aka employee).
This could not be truer than when criticism comes into play.
All too often the messages of criticism,
the messages that need to be handled with an HR slant, they are done in
less formal and more casual conversation settings. This is the paperwork Tori
is referring to. It comes down to making sure the rep has a clear understanding
of when the criticism being shared is to be taken on a much more serious level.
This can be in the form of email or traditional documentation such as a
performance improvement plan. Tori will have your back all day long when you
can show how and when you shared your concerns and criticism in writing with
your team members.
Employee reviews can be a big help in
keeping your documentation in line. Sales reps can and should be a part of
their review by asking them for their ideas and feedback. Documenting their own
concerns and criticism. The sales manager can then provide thoughts,
ideas, concerns and criticisms in writing, and then before you know it, you
have an employee file. When the rep doesn’t work out, HR will have your back,
and no matter how slow you hired you can then fire fast.