Posted by Ty Hall Here’s something weird: a company that never-ever, unequivocally, absolutely does not under any circumstance fire anyone, regardless of employee performance, employee potential, or employee engagement. It sounds like a terrible idea, but that’s exactly what Next Jump CEO Charlie Kim decided to do, and it’s been working ever since (just like everyone his company hires).
In an interview with David Marquet, Kim said he was struck with the idea after Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman asked him how he would feel if his son were fired. “That floored me,” he said. “Being fired is a highly traumatic emotional event. It’s the equivalent of being told ‘You’re no good’.” After that, Kim spent the next six months thinking about it, generating hypothetical scenarios, and realizing that a “no fire” policy would fundamentally change everything they did at Next Jump. The employee selection process, training and development, and managing policy was reviewed.
Chapman said, “Once you realize that you are entering into a lifelong relationship, hiring starts to look a lot more like adoption, or dating... Every hiring manager started hiring more carefully, something I’d been advocating for but couldn’t make happen in every manager…Once we take someone into our family, they’re here for life, when things don’t work, they’re responsible for training them, helping them.” If someone really doesn’t work out, Kim says they are reassigned to “look[ing] for a new job,” while remaining employed and on the payroll until the task is sufficiently met.
Almost immediately after the new programming was implemented, turnover dropped from 40 to 0 percent, Next Jump employees stopped accepting any and all calls from recruiters, and “The percentage of employees who said they ‘love’ (not like, not tolerate, but LOVE) their jobs went from 20 to 90 percent.” Work-life balance and open communication were other byproducts of this process; “since getting fired wasn’t an option, everyone became more open to talk about their real problems.”
What sounded like a terrible idea at first is starting to look more like a vocational utopia.
Ultimately, when you start looking at employees as family—that they’re at your company for life—hiring priorities change dramatically. It means you have to hire the right person from the get-go, without miscalculating a potential hire’s job fit, personality, or behaviors. If you want a company with zero turnover and 90 percent employee engagement like Kim’s, using pre-screening and employee assessments during the hiring process can ensure no one in your company ever has to be fired.
Solutions like SmartMoves ProfileXT® can help you identify job fit. Hiring the right person from the start can build a culture of trust, loyalty, engagement, and absolutely no turnaround—and the best start is with employee assessments.
Even without implementing a “no fire” policy, your company can still experience all its benefits by hiring right from the very beginning—as if your next hire will be there for life.