Many companies are now following the "Hire slow, fire fast" mantra – a trend where you should take time to bring someone into your organization and if it doesn't work out, you should let them go quickly. But does it make sense? With different opinions from a pool of people, logically, it doesn't!
Hire slow – While companies should take time in deciding who to hire, how much time do they really have? Candidates being interviewed too have a life. They may have other opportunities that they have put on hold just to get a response from you. If your recruiting process is darn slow, people won't stick around. They will choose a different path without even waiting for your call. Now that is what an ideal candidate, who is serious about their career, should do. They, as a candidate, are looking for a job ASAP. If they are really good, but you still take time in responding, you will lose someone who would have sufficed your need of a perfect employee.
Fire fast – Why would you even want to do that? You have hired a resource, invested in their training, and have turned them into a valuable asset to your company. Firing them would mean burying all the efforts and money you have spent. Until and unless they have violated policies and/or have been doing no productive work, what is there that couldn't be taken care of by sitting and talking?
If an employee was good for you (since you hired them), and then suddenly changed, wouldn't you want to know what went wrong? As an employer, you can stay inside your fear bubble and keep following the "Fire Fast" mantra. But unless you sit and discuss what went wrong, nothing is going to change.
There is a reason why we hire humans and not machines. That's because the latter is not to be trusted completely and the former, no matter how perfect, has their own inconsistencies. Everyone does. Employees can perform exceptionally well one day and can slope down the other. And this has nothing to do with their performance. Most of the time, there is a problem with the energy/environment around. Maybe people aren't talking about something that needs attention. Maybe they are stuck at something and there is no one to help. Maybe things are not clear. What if the employee is facing sexual harassment but just don't have the guts to confess? The truth is, you won't know what the actual problem is, unless you ask, of course.
So, what can be done to maintain a proper time frame in the hiring process?
The organization must not take more than thirty days to hire someone for a non-leadership role. To hire someone for a higher leadership position, a timeframe of sixty days would do good. More than a calendar quarter should not be taken for a new hire unless it is a case of injury or illness. Companies tend to lose great candidates due to the old and extremely slow hiring process.
As for termination, if you find your employee violating the policies, stealing data, or being less productive at work, you can fire them effective immediately, I will give you that. But even those things can be brought to the table to discuss on. These situations can teach you a lot about the vulnerabilities of your organization. What made the employee steal from your company? Why they are being less productive at the workplace? Is there something bugging them? What is that? How fast can you fix it before it starts impacting everyone? Ghosh! The list is endless. But it is empty now and the list will only start building once you drop your decades-old policies, and have a little chat to discuss what's going south before handing over the termination letter.
You need something to be done fast? Have a meeting with your HR and understand what employees are expecting from the organization or what all changes they would like to see within the company. Jump to those suggestions immediately and work towards them. Even a change as mere as replacing a coffee vending machine that is spewing dirt, with a better one is bound to leave a good impact on the employees. Change the policies which are too harsh. Replace it with something which falls in the middle ground of you and your employee's interest, and you'll witness how you would no longer need "Hire Slow, Fire Fast" anymore.
Now, of course, as a business organization, you can't fix the problem of every single employee. You would have to have mildly strict policies to maintain the decorum. However, no policy can replace the act of being human first. Treat your employees good, think about their and your efforts in turning them into a valuable asset to the company before nuking them with termination.
To conclude, "Hire Slow, Fire Fast" may look like a good approach to keep the company filled with talent that matters, but observe closely, and you will see it is not as flawless as it seems. Where on one hand, it is draining your resources you have spent on your employees, on the other hand, it is putting your position vacant for days (even weeks in some cases) as you believe hiring should be kept slow. Now that, is not how good organizations function.