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I had a rule, which I really did honor. I told everyone who worked for me that the poorest performer would be terminated each year. I’m not sure that’s even legal in today’s polically correct society.

What a great idea…unfortunately, executing this nowadays would probably be a nightmare.  I would assume that you could have new hires sign contracts accepting the fact that termination after a year of underachieving was a possibility given a strict system of guidelines (which would also be defined and described).  If they were leery of signing, that would be a red flag … if they were gung-ho and couldn’t wait to sign the papers … he/she was the one you wanted.

Reading back on all of this, I think it really shows the importance of the hiring process.  It really seems you could filter out 90+% of the people that would not be good for your company right up front.  Companies send workers through HR  … if you pass the HR interview, you meet with engineers.  This is actually the right idea; however I see one problem.  Do those engineers have stakes in the company?  If they don’t, what is the real incentive to take the hiring process this seriously.

Let me explain … one could argue that everyone has a stake in the company because the company must profit or everyone will lose a job.  It is not that black and white.  Companies may continue to succeed because 25% within the company is doing all the work.  So, even if bad hires are made, the company will still stay afloat.

One possible incentive could be for every year a new hire succeeds and remains part of the company, those responsible for the hire would get some sort of bonus.

Of course, I am speaking business philosophy now.  Philosophy, work ethic, and business … 3 of my favorite subjects.