Sometimes, it’s hard to evaluate which choice is the best for your business. But it’s clear that one is always the worst: dismissing an employee.
An old management adage suggests that we should “hire slowly and fire quickly.” This advice assumes that the cost of keeping an employee is far greater than the cost of losing them. More often than not, the opposite is true. We need to find ways to retain and value the workers we have by empowering them to succeed.
Take a moment to think about your own employer, or a place you have recently worked. There is probably at least one person who seems to know all of the arcane details about the business. This “subject matter expert” is the one who remembers the unusual clause in long-forgotten agreements, the structure of old filing systems, and the workarounds needed to navigate key systems. If you lost this individual, your company would be in serious trouble. Firing should be the last possible resort.
Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that the march of progress creates a natural tension among some workers. After all, isn’t almost every change about doing more with less to increase worker productivity? We covered workplace productivity improvements. To quote ourselves:
The words used in these old jobs seem antiquated: telephone operator, gas station attendant and book keeper. It might seem like our value as employees is dependent on the arrival of the next gizmo or software application to do our work for us. This belief creates fear, and that fear provides power for a resistance to change.
At AccelaWork, we invite stakeholders to take a different view of themselves, their work and their organization. We believe that companies, non-profits and government agencies make hiring decisions because they believe in the capacity of individuals. You are more than the sum of your tasks and responsibilities—you are a force for creativity, a source of commitment and limitless potential. A machine might enable you to finish rote tasks faster but it cannot replace brilliance and instinct.
Continually improving yourself and business operations is the best possible job security. If your innovations make your job require less time, your boss should hand you more responsibilities, not a pink slip. If your reward for finding ways to work smarter is that you lose your job, take that as proof that you would be valued more elsewhere.
So what does that mean for readers of our blog? Please don’t introduce us to managers and directors of companies and non-profits. Instead, help us to meet the front-line people who personally experience productivity challenges every day, so that we can help them to work smarter. AccelaWork believes in the power of stakeholders to transform business from within. Contact our corporate productivity consultants to learn more.