Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

There are lots of things you can do in life, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

There are many reasons you may chose not to do something and these include moral, financial, political and reputational ‘fall out’. Consequences is another reason why someone may chose to do, or not to do something.

I have been thinking about this blog title for a couple of days from an HR / employment perspective, but then while listening to A Promised Land, Barak Obama’s new book, the thought struck me again. The day before his inauguration, he is given a briefing on ‘The Football’ – a small suitcase which is always with the President and contains the codes needed to launch a nuclear strike. He had the authority and the ability, but (thankfully) he never chose to use them.


So how does this relate to HR?

There are so many decisions employers have to take on a daily basis, especially at the moment:

  • Should I hire new staff?
  • Should I fire under performing staff?
  • Should I make staff redundant?
  • Should I contact someone while they are off sick?
  • Should I performance manage someone while they are off sick?
  • Should I make someone redundant while on Shared Parental Leave?
  • Should I promote this person?
  • Should I discipline that person?
  • Should I shout at someone if they are about to do something dangerous?
  • Should I shout at someone if they are doing something I don’t like?

One of the things I find myself saying time and time again, with clients of all shapes and sizes: “it’s not what you do, but the way that you do it.”

A business can take a tough decision, but whether that decision comes back to bite them will depend on how they implement the decision, rather than the decision itself.

Just because you can yell “you’re fired”, doesn’t mean you should!

Just because you can take 6 months to performance manage someone out of your business, doesn’t mean you should!

If you decide to fire someone for poor performance, there is a spectrum of options open to you which will range in implementation time from 1 minute to 6 months. Which option you select may depend on your approach to risk, but may depend on the individual themselves. Your priority is protecting the business. This is a holistic decision and how you ‘protect’ the business will depend on the specific circumstances. No two situations are identical…… after all, you are dealing with people.

Leave a Reply