I didn't know who that was, but out of curiosity I clicked on it. (Congrats, Linkedin!)
It took me to the video at the bottom of this post, and its resulting comments. Most were quite complimentary. The video is about how to fire someone.
As someone who's been let go, has left on my own, and has let someone go, I decided to add my two cents.
One thing that struck me was that the perspective was 100% from the point of view of two young employers. Now, they happen to be male, but I'm not sure the discussion would have been different if they hadn't been. They talk about how difficult it is for them to fire someone. They empathize, or claim to, with the employee, to an extent, but the focus is wow, how hard is it to be us? I wish I didn't have to do this. But if you do, here's some advice how to get through it.
Now, I don't have a problem with to two guys commiserating with each other about the stresses of their work. But to do it on video and put it out there as advice for others, to my mind, requires another level of thoughtfulness about the subject.
So what do they suggest?
One (Chris) described agonizing over the decision for days or weeks, and then having a meeting that basically pulled the bandaid off: It's not working, it's you not me, talk to HR. I think that this approach is more for the employer's peace of mind than the employee's benefit. You work yourself up, you give them chances--in your mind--to change, but ultimately you just have to be tough, it's for everyone's good. But the truth is, you don' t know that.
'I told you once, I told you twice'
The other one (Tim Brown) described giving several warnings, telling the offender specifically what was wrong and how to fix it, and giving them a chance to do so. Only after this extreme fairness were they to be let go. At first glance, this seems to go too far the other way. I don't disagree with the idea of giving one or two warnings (rather than several, unless it's a large organization and you can afford it), but I have more basic issues with this, namely, the idea of going into the meeting with the idea that the "problem" is all with the employee, and your job, as the employer, is simply to lay down the law and see if they rise to expectations.
In other words, the operative assumption is that you have nothing to learn from the exchange.
Women and Children First
Someone mentioned the problem employee being a woman with a child. Granted, that can impact a person's performance for a number of reasons unrelated to talent or commitment. But where is the serious thought being given to how to accommodate and work with such an employee, rather than just saying "too bad"? The fact is, this is the reason many groups of people are excluded from the workforce, and it's important when you are in a position of social power to look at your place in the big picture. It was therefore disheartening to me, a 60 year old man, to see these young male executives still being so clueless as to their role in the social fabric of things.
The "Fit" Excuse
For similar reasons, I also have issues with the whole concept of such-and such is our workplace "culture" and this person doesn't "fit."
For many years (and today as well, let's not kid ourselves) this was the ostensible reason that BIPOC communities were seen as undesirable employees. There's a famous study in which the exact same resumes were sent out for jobs, only on one set the names were minority-sounding and on the other set the same names were Anglicized. Guess which set got the most positive replies? Of course, you know the answer. The fact that you do know the answer, without question, should give us all pause.
A workplace culture (like a real culture) should be a malleable thing, something that can grow and shift with the people who make it up, not something to be used as a cudgel to bend them into submission.
In or Out?
Finally, I'm very put off by the expression "coaching out." I thought when Tim said his father never fired someone, it was going to be because he coached them in, not out. Maybe small companies can't afford to put much time and effort into training. However, I believe that a good part of this lack of resources is due to not seeing it as a priority, or a responsibility. The truth is, if you are an employer in this society, you are NOT JUST A CONSUMER BUT A BUILDER of our collective human resources.
Finally, Chris mentions employees who are users, incompetent or just phoning it in, and in those cases I do agree with him that the firing should be swift and sure.
But without probing the reasons for perceived under-performance and being open to growing as an employer through such conversations, I think the social ramifications are net negative.
Here's the video. See what you think.
Mitch (Currently between gigs--big surprise)