Article: Confessions: Hired, only to be fired

Performance Management

Confessions: Hired, only to be fired

Can you solve the irony of a manager who needs to fire his new hires just to retain his top performers?
Confessions: Hired, only to be fired

On the one hand, I cannot find people worth being recruited and on the other, the system forces me to nominate the bottom 5% of my team to be fired


Sitting at the bar of a five-star hotel in Bangalore, waiting for my old college buddies to join me, I am reflecting about my day. Picture this: 2 full days locked in a business center conference room, missing my family, conducting more than 100 odd interviews most of which were unproductive, without short-listing a single candidate! I am feeling completely drained by this futile task and I still have one more day of this to go.

Why is it so difficult to find people, I wonder. It is not the first time I have felt like this; so many times I have returned from 2 or 3 days long recruitment drives without a single offer rolled out. Clearly there is a problem. My friends, who’ve joined me at the bar, claim that brands like the one I work for should not be having such a tough time, as working in one of India’s largest BPOs is a dream job for many. Yes, that might be, but where are those people?

The interesting paradox is, I tell my friends, that I am at this very moment completing the performance review of my team and I know that once again I will have to let go of the bottom per cent. On the one hand, I cannot find people worth being recruited and on the other, the system forces me to nominate the bottom 5% of my team to be fired. What a surreal situation. I cannot deliver business requirements because I cannot find people with the skills that I need and the company forces me to fire my own people, trained and productive, every year, by force! Yes, of course, you may say that this helps in building a high performance culture and all that jazz. All these MBA theories are fine on paper, but why fire people who are in the system? It is true that they are not performing at the same level as the rest, but yet they are trained and working better than anyone we can hire right now. I am not saying that low performers should not be moved out of the company. I am just saying that as a manager, I should be able to choose whom and how many I need to fire from my team? I’m losing trained performers, practically sending them to competition! Does that make any sense? We have invested so much in each one of them.

What can the solution be? My friends suggest that I should talk to my boss but I’m unconvinced that will make a difference. He is not going to change the system for me. There must be something I can do on my own. What if I hire some of the guys I interviewed today and they could be my 5 per cent for next year, hired to be fired. If I have to let go of people, might as well identify them in advance and align my efforts accordingly. I am about to share my idea with my friends when I realise that it cannot be the solution. What is the point of having a system if I actively plan to break it? Maybe a conversation with my CEO and Head of HR is worth a shot after all. There must be others like me.

The writer works for a leading MNC captive BPO center

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Topics: Performance Management, Watercooler

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