The Eagle Blog

Getting Fired …

Recently Microsoft fired their CIO, Stuart Scott, very publicly and for “violation of company policies”. As can be expected rumours are abundant and speculation rampant about why. I have no interest in spreading those rumours or speculating, but I am interested in talking about the subject of getting fired.

Eagle has been in business for eleven years and during that time we have had to fire some people, and for various reasons. I would like to say that each time it has happened it was not a surprise, but sometimes it is! When that happens both parties have failed, (a) Eagle for not being clear about a person’s status and (b) the person because each of us is responsible for our own performance.

There are many ways to get fired, but in today’s environment with skills shortages, most companies try very hard to make it work. Having said that, my experience has been that it is very rare for someone to “surprise us” if we feel they are not going to make it. Hence the old management saying, “Hire slowly and fire fast!”

Here are some things (big rule violations) that are going to get you fired in a hurry:

1. HR violations related to discrimination, improper behaviour, aggressive behaviour etc.
2. Financial issues such as misuse of company funds, expenses, equipment etc.
3. Regular tardiness, missed days, cheating on time sheets etc.
4. Misuse of technology, surfing porn, using tech for personal purposes etc.
5. Insubordination, failure to follow direction from management.

While we have had a few people fall into the above categories, most people end up losing their jobs because they don’t perform to expectations.

Like any company Eagle has its way of doing things, its policies, procedures and corporate direction. Employees are expected to “buy in” to the “Eagle way” and work with the system to achieve our common goals. Input and suggestions are always welcome, but working against the system is not appreciated. When people are not “playing” with the team, AND are under performing then they are on a slippery slope. It always amazes me when we have these situations, surely the employee who is not delivering can see that if they “get on board” they have a far greater chance of success than “doing their own thing”.

This is probably the number one reason why people have been let go here. People who are under performing, and not “getting with the program”.

So … my advice to anyone joining a new company, struggling at their existing company or just wanting to get better, is to work with, and not against, your company processes … and master them. Once you are in that position (a) you have a far better chance of success and (b) you have the right to make suggestions for improvement.

I have no idea if any of this had anything to do with Stuart Scott but high profile firings are relatively rare and the event triggered these thoughts. Of course if you break the big rules you are toast anyway!


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4 thoughts on “Getting Fired …

  1. Some company’s HR policies make it virtually impossible to ‘Fire fast’, except when the employee is guilty of #1 or #2 on your list of ‘big rule violations’.

    The other 3 require warnings, performance reviews and employee counselling. This can be a long, painful process that takes up a lot of the manager’s time.

    I guess that’s why many clients use your services: getting rid of a contract worker only takes a phone call.

  2. Some company’s HR policies make it virtually impossible to ‘Fire fast’, except when the employee is guilty of #1 or #2 on your list of ‘big rule violations’.

    The other 3 require warnings, performance reviews and employee counselling. This can be a long, painful process that takes up a lot of the manager’s time.

    I guess that’s why many clients use your services: getting rid of a contract worker only takes a phone call.

  3. Good point … and an excellent thought about the use of contractors! Thanks for the plug!

    In all seriousness the use of staff augmentation, outsourcing and partnering are all ways in which large companies gain flexibility with their staffing levels. One side benefit is that there is less HR management involved … and when you think of the amount of time managers spend on this I think the value of this is under-stated.

  4. Good point … and an excellent thought about the use of contractors! Thanks for the plug!

    In all seriousness the use of staff augmentation, outsourcing and partnering are all ways in which large companies gain flexibility with their staffing levels. One side benefit is that there is less HR management involved … and when you think of the amount of time managers spend on this I think the value of this is under-stated.

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