Launching a career as an entrepreneur is an incredible experience. You essentially get to choose your own direction, the people you work with and the products you offer. But despite all the glitz and the glamor that go with the vocation, there are some significant downsides.
Not only are the hours long (the average entrepreneur works 52 hours a week), but you sometimes have to let people go. The question is, how do you let these people go with both love and dignity? Let’s find out.
The Culture Cut
Every company, whether you like it or not, has a culture. If you’re an entrepreneur, your company has a culture too. Despite your best efforts, however, some of the people you hire just won’t be a good fit. They won’t be able to become a part of the glue that sticks your whole organization together. The weird thing about these people is that they usually haven’t done anything wrong. They just don’t fit, and it hurts them, as well as the people about them.
To get rid of these people in a humane way, it’s usually worth getting them to agree with you about the fact that they don’t fit in. Ask them whether your organization is really somewhere they see themselves flourishing, or whether they’d be better off at another company with a culture that better suits their approach to work.
The Downsizing Victim
Downsizing is always a hard thing to do. Even though it might be something that is necessary for the survival of the company, some individual workers just won’t make the cut, even though they’ve worked hard to try and make the business succeed.
As a first step, it’s important to let workers know why the downsizing is happening. Usually, it’s because of some shake up in the industry: perhaps a new technology has made workers obsolete, or maybe the product that the company makes has been superseded by something else (just think about what happened to Kodak’s 300,000 employees when digital cameras disrupted their business).
The next step is to make use of outplacement services. The idea here is to help employees who have been with you a long time find new employment elsewhere in order to ease the burden losing their income will have on their families. For companies who are well-known, these services are a great way to maintain good public relations, even when jobs are being cut.
The Wrong-Fit Hire
As an entrepreneur, you’ll occasionally make bad hires. Don’t worry: everybody does it, and often it isn’t actually their fault. Sometimes, an employee will falsify their resume. Other times, they’ll sail through the interview, even though their real skills are not up to the challenge.
There’s no need to drag out this process. Just realise that if an employee isn’t a good match for your company, it’s a good thing to let them go. Companies like Zappos offer their staff $2,000 in cash to people who don’t fit the organisation to leave of their own free will.