Asking For A Friend | Chapter 41
Advice from Babe to Babe
This week’s advice chapter of Asking For A Friend helps you through those less-than-glamorous moments of the hustle. Wondering how to give negative feedback, or worse, fire someone? The babes are here with answers.
I think this wildly depends on your relationship with your employer. If you think they’re comfortable letting you stay on board and potentially helping to find and train your replacement, then give them as much notice as you’d like. If you think they’re the type to say. “OK, that’s nice, go ahead and leave after your two weeks (or sooner),” then the decision gets a bit more complicated. As far as preparing, I would say budgeting is likely the most important factor (relative to your moving expenses and how long you can afford to be out of work, too).
—OLIVIA WILSON, BABE #51
This definitely depends on why you plan to quit, what your next steps are and how many steps you’ve already taken towards your preparation.
If you already have something lined up, like school or a new job, and you’re not concerned about your financial health during your transition, go ahead and let them know. If they keep you on to wrap up your last-minute projects and train your replacement, that can be a pretty low-pressure way to keep earning a paycheck. If you don’t have anything lined up and you don’t know how your current company will respond, the standard two weeks is completely fine.
As far as preparedness goes, make sure you have some way to take care of all the things your job currently provides for you:
Income: Have the equivalent of at least six months of savings to live off of during your transition, and a plan for how you see yourself replacing that income and savings.
Healthcare: See if you can get on your parents’, significant other’s or a general marketplace plan.
Experience: If you’re not making this a permanent life change, find ways to fill your down time with something that can still add to your resume (volunteering, freelancing, etc.)
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
I believe feedback (positive or negative) should be given openly and frequently in any business. Creating an environment where feedback is given on the reg lets everyone know where they stand and prevents resentment.
First, determine if the feedback can be given in a casual manner. “Hey! Can I give you feedback on (thing)?” Then, just tell them. Keeping it casual gets it out there without the awkwardness of a sit-down. I think this method is perfectly appropriate for coworkers and employees.
For employees, I do like to do a more formal feedback meeting. I usually do this 90 days after-hire and again one year after-hire. Here, I use a performance evaluation document where I score the employee from one to five in topics like reliability, quality of work, communication skills, etc. Then, by each score I write a note explaining the reason for this score. This allows for positive and negative feedback to be given in a constructive matter, leaves a record of the feedback given and gives them clear expectations for areas of improvement
Let’s level-set: No one gives you negative feedback unless they think you’re capable of learning from it. If you take the time to track changes, you’re taking the time to invest in someone and their development. When the time comes where you have to sit down and provide negative feedback, make sure you also offer up clear solutions and areas for improvement. Don’t just focus on the negative, but work together to find the big-picture learnings. You’d be amazed what people can do when they’re given the room to grow.
I’ve found that the most effective way to deliver feedback is to:
(1) Tell the person why you’re providing feedback (e.g. I see how hard you’re working on “XYZ” and I want to make sure you’re able to succeed in this role); (2) Stick with the facts (i.e. state objective observations and concrete examples) and away from the use of “we” and “everyone” (e.g. We noticed that…) because it will likely make the person feel attacked or ganged up on; (3) Believe the person can rise to the level of work you expect and make the changes needed; (4) Ask questions to understand their perspective—there may be confusion about expectations or they may already recognize they’re not quite meeting the mark and are just as unhappy about their performance; and (5) Give the person time to decide if they want to listen to you, time to decide how to implement the changes, time to begin implementation and time for a new outcome to manifest.
Remember why you’re delivering the feedback in the first place and deliver it with the humanity of the other person in mind, and you’ll be fine.
—DIANA MORRIS, BABE #182
Oof. This is always an uncomfortable conversation, but hopefully it’s not coming as a surprise to your employee. If you’ve provided feedback in the past and nothing has changed, then they—in all fairness—should see this coming.
It’s best to be as direct and transparent as possible. Tell them the reason(s) they’re being let go, cite past conversations and opportunities for improvement that were not met and then wish them the best. I also feel like it’s helpful for both parties to ask them to fill out an exit questionnaire. This gives them an opportunity to air any grievances and get closure, and may even bring to light opportunities for improvement on management’s side as well.
I just listened to a great podcast on this topic called “How to Fire People," by Without Fail. Patty McCord, who was the chief talent officer at Netflix, gives insight into their hiring and firing techniques.
I had a good experience being incredibly direct and unemotional. I started with, “We’re letting you go...” and then said why we made the decision we did (without rambling or opening the conversation to “but, what about...?” from her.) Then I gave her a chance to ask questions and voice her thoughts, and I answered only if I felt it was appropriate or constructive.
In contrast, the week before, my business partner and I tried to let her go and my partner started with “So, we feel this way...” and gave the girl so much information and opportunity to disagree that we ended up giving her a “trial basis” to stay, which wasted all our time for a week.
–KIMBERLY NOVOSEL, BABE #18
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!