I don’t buy into the notion of progressive discipline at work. You can either do the job or you can’t — and if you fail to succeed at your job when most of your co-workers are succeeding, the job is not for you. It’s time to start fresh.
That being said, Corporate American and Human Resources departments fail at screening candidates and hiring employees.
- We try to use faux scientific methodologies and errant assessment tools.
- We don’t really understand the jobs and responsibilities in our companies.
- We hire for ‘fit’ and attitude, and we focus on demographics while missing the mark on technical aptitude.
When we have an employee who honestly fails, we bear some of the responsibility — and we owe this employee something for his wasted efforts. Give him severance, allow him to claim unemployment, and offer him some kind of discounted medical plan for six months to offset his COBRA expenses. Ask him to sign a release & waiver and be done with the mess. Let the employee get on with his life, and free your managers from the mess of coaching an employee who is destined to fail.
Ethics and value don’t change behaviors. Money drives change. If we had to pay our former employees real money when they walk out the door, we would learn from our mistakes and do a better job hiring them in the first place.