As a business owner, you know how important your team members are to your success. And like many, you spend a great deal of time in the hiring and firing process. It can seem like a never-ending quest to find the right team members. Over the course of the last 25 years as a business coach, I can say with a great degree of certainty that 99 percent of your staffing problems come from these two mistakes. 

1. Waiting Too Long To Hire

The scene is one that is all too familiar. You are growing quickly and desperately need help. Or maybe you just lost a key team member and are scrambling to find a replacement. That feeling of panic causes you to make bad judgment calls. When you hire in haste your odds of making a bad hire skyrocket.

What do you do about this? Get ahead of the curve.

Lay out your hiring needs into a 24 month timeline including the clues you'll see along the way that will help you know the timing of when you'll need to make key hires. What metrics can you track in your business that will be leading indicators about when you should pull the trigger and hire more? Is it total sales? Number of new engagements? Etc.

Also, make sure that you're building out your systems and controls as you go so that you have the structure in place should you need to replace a key team member. Have each key team member cross training his or her understudy too. These simple steps will help you hire more deliberately versus rushing the process out of desperation.

It is also beneficial to always be on the lookout for key talent. You may not need a new programmer right now, but in six months you might and having a few key choices in the pipeline will help speed up your hiring process without compromising your judgment. 

2. Waiting Too Long To Fire

"I know that I should let George go....but...."

This is another one that I hear far too often. You spent a great deal of time hiring a staff member and letting them go is to admit that you made a mistake. It's a tough realization to come to, and an even tougher conversation to have. But consider the cost of waiting:

  • A bad hire can affect your company culture and other team members.

  • If that hire comes in contact with customers or vendors, what impact or value does that have on your business? (Answer: priceless)

  • What is the cost of fixing issues that arise from poor performance of that hire?

Once you really look at the cost of a poor hire, can you really afford not to let them go? 

At the end of the day, hire slow and fire fast.

Published on: Feb 26, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.