Is HR Afraid to Fire People?

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Jesse asks…

It’s been my experience at my big corporate employer that no one ever gets fired for poor performance. Is this common at all big corporations? Is it because they don’t want to deal with lawsuits? Is it just my employer?

Here’s my take. Most companies and HR departments are afraid to fire employees for valid reasons.

  1. Employees will sue you.
  2. Firing is easy (sorta) and employers may not have given their workers a fair chance to succeed.
  3. Many managers who want to fire employees are bad managers and ought to be fired themselves.

I will say this much: I have a low tolerance for bad managers and stupid employees who game the system. Throughout my career, I have fired poor performers. I always had a great team of employment lawyers and broad authority to offer money in exchange for a signed release & waiver.

That’s right. I’m the kind of HR woman who pays people to go away.

Under my watch, poorly performing employees left with some dignity. It’s a good way to turn an otherwise difficult & unproductive situation into an encounter with a positive ending.

You suck at your job? You’re not happy? We’re not happy, either, and we made a mistake in hiring you in the first place. Here’s some money. Let’s all get on with our lives.

Anyone else have opinions or experiences to share? Is your HR department risk averse? Does it take forever to fire an employee at your office?

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