Being an entrepreneur is like riding a roller coaster day after day, so unless you are Richard Rodriguez trying to break the World Record for the longest rollercoaster ride, you will want to get your startup to flat solid ground as soon as you possibly can--and keep it there. If you begin hiring fast and firing fast, you will add loops and turns to your ride by creating an unstable company culture and workgroup disharmony. Hiring slow is a key ingredient to keeping your startup on stable ground.
As tempting as it may be to hire anyone in order to get work done and cash flowing, it is important for entrepreneurs to be calm and not be so eager to hire the right employees - it is a critical decision for building a startup. I mean, who really likes waiting for money? I’ve never heard anyone tell their boss that they would rather wait a year to receive their first paycheck. Moving with haste may indeed get money flowing in quickly if you subscribe to the school of thought of hiring fast and firing fast, but unwittingly you build an unstable foundation.
I see three big problems with the Hire Fast, Fire Fast philosophy:
1. It’s not in good faith to your employee who is fired.
2. It sends the message to your current employees that they are far from indispensable and that they can be quickly fired.
3. It is a hazardous building block to your company's foundation, endangering the longevity of your work.
Problem Number One: Taking a job at a startup is a risk for most people. They have listened to their passion, followed their heart, and are most likely taking a pay cut to help an ambitious entrepreneur fulfill a vision. For once in their lives, they are making a decision to be happy and fulfill a bigger purpose. They are making a life-altering decision in good faith that they will be valued and appreciated for taking such a leap of faith. If an attitude of hire fast; fire fast awaits them on the other side, an otherwise brave individual will experience a brutal hit to their confidence and way of life.
Problem Number Two: Firing fast sends a message to your team that there is no such thing as job security. When your team sees someone they just started to like, someone who was just getting the hang of things get sent packing, a seed is planted. “Maybe I am not valued. Maybe I am next.” Then feelings of resentment and fear begin to spread like wildfire. Small teams that are the foundation of startups cannot afford to let wildfires torch what makes them thrive. Preserving your team and their stability is vital to the life of your startup.
Problem Number Three: No entrepreneur wants to be a one hit wonder. Entrepreneurs have a fierce spirit that causes them to crave being a legend. Legends are built on a solid foundation - a foundation that supports longevity and stands the test of time. Storms will come and attempt to wash your startup away, and if your startup does not consist of a team that is confident in their place, you will not be able to stand the test of time. Hiring fast and firing fast will not support your startup in the storm; it will leave you as a one-hit wonder.
It is time for entrepreneurs to get off of the roller coaster and put in the necessary time to build a solid foundation for their startup. Adopting an attitude of hiring slow and firing slow will help entrepreneurs build a team that feels more like a family and a team that cherishes the vision as much as you do. Making a choice to stop the roller coaster and invest time into precious human resources will set the foundation that will make you into a legend. Entrepreneurs should leave the one-hit wonder business to Vanilla Ice. Our vision, our time, and our efforts are legend-worthy!