March 18, 2011 at 4:21pm
This phenonmenon is not very common but it isn't very rare too. You must have seen new employees being shown doors during the probation period of their employment. I too had a couple of chances to witness such an unfortunate incident.
During such a situation it is the employee who is held responsible and accountable for the underperformance and it is the employee who is faced with the uncertainity of next job. But my question is that more than the failure of new employee to perform, is it not the failure of the interviewer who selected him for the job or failure of the HR personnel who couldn't judge the job fitment?
In this HACK, I have tried to look from this side of the situation.
An employee is hired and is kept on probation period (generally for three to six months) after which, if found satisfactory, he/she is confirmed as an employee. After few months company realizes that it is not worth to go ahead with this employee for whatever reasons and the employee is asked to leave.
The problem is very simple - everytime such an incident happens, company is attacking the immediate problem but not the root cause.
The problem that a new employee isn't able to perform well or couldn't be fit to a job profile is less important in my point of view. The larger problem rather is that the interviewers and the HR Executive have not taken their job seriously and they have failed to judge a prospective candidate at the first place.
What is the job of an interviewer? If I am not wrong, it is to judge a participant for his/her capabilities and the fitment for the job profile at hand.
If an interviewer fails at his job, why is it that the new employee is only punished for his/her failure in the job?
A straight forward solution to this problem is to hold accountable the interviewer and the HR Executive concerned with the recruitment of the employee being terminated during the probation period.
Whenever such a situation is faced, first it should be traced that who interviewed this employee and who was the HR executive responsible for this recruitment.
After finding this an impartial audit must be carried out to determine the actual reason for the termination. If the reason is capability or mis-fitment, then the interviewer and the HR Executive are equally responsible and must be penalized.
According to me, on ethical grounds, it is not fair to suddenly terminate an employee without any compensation. This is because, the same employee was peacefully working somewhere else. Your company selected him for the job after judging him fit for a job (obviously we don't play trial and error games during recruitment). Now, after couple of months when you don't find the employee fit for the job, the employee has already given up his previous job and he has no other job in hand. In my point of view, this is penalizing him for the failure of your internal system and process of recruitment.
Considering that this is not viable for any company to keep moving ahead with employees not fitting any job, I would recommend that at the time of termination during the probation period, the employee is paid one month's salary as a courtsey pay. Half of this pay should be paid by the company while another half should be recovered from the interviewer and the HR Executive's salaries. This will bring the accountability in the interviewer and HR Executive's job which till now is considered only as a job with power but no accountability.
The immediate impact of the proposed solution will be to bring in the accountability in the recruitment process of the company. Currently, there is no one accountable for any incorrect hiring. A job of interviewer is seen as a job with power but with no accountability.
In some companies, there are no guidelines for an interviewer and anyone could be nominated as interviewer. Moreover, if the recruitment drive is out of the city, most of the interviewers take it as a holiday trip rather than seriously considering it as a medium to judge and select the best talent for the company.
Once, there is accountability brought into the job of an interviewer and the recruitment HR Executive, the fear of aftermath would automatically push them to select best of the available talent. This would not only help the company in attracting the best fit for the job but it will also avoid the company to take hard decisions like terminating the employees during probation period. Indirectly, it saves cost of a failed recruitment and the opportunity cost of having a fit-for-job employee.
As the beginning steps, putting penalty on an incorrect recruitment may not be a feasible solution. So, to start with, whenever such an incidence happens, the interviewer and the HR Executive should be identified and informed of their failure. This should be recorded and observed as part of their performance appraisals.
HACK written after observing a couple of terminations during the probation periods.