I am posting this on two groups, so I apologize in advance if you see this twice.
I'd like to receive some push back on a decision that I will be making.
I own and operate a small trucking company. 15 full time drivers. I have the opportunity to buy a similar business in the same market. This would add 3 drivers.
1 of the drivers is a fit for my organization. The other two, not so much. If I were interviewing them under "normal" circumstances, I would not hire them. Also, since I am familiar with the operation and the business practices, their habits definitely are a clash with my culture.
I have a firm no gossip policy, and 2 years ago, I declared this business a "Drama Free Work Zone".
Adding these two individuals will stretch, if not break, the policy.
Here is the conflict: Do I take them, because they will be expecting to be able to retain their jobs?
Or, do I stop the loss before it begins and go with two new hires?
Employment is such a major thing. These men are relying on their jobs. If they adapt to our culture, that is great. However, the opposite is usually the case. Then, the unpleasant task of dismissal is necessary.
As a follow of Jesus, I want to be wise. Also compassionate.
So, I need the thoughts and ideas of some like minded people that may look at this differently than I am.
Thanks for posting the discussion topic.
I have encountered similar situations. I wasn'tbuying a new company but rather merging departments.
I struggled with the same decision for many weeks. I ultimately made the following decision.....and it worked out great.
1) I decided to merge the departments leaving existing employees in place.
2) I implemented a 9 month probationary period under which I could release any newly acquired employee without cause.
3) I met with the new employees before they came to work to let them know what my expectations were and about the probation period.
4) I made sure I have all of the policies documented and posted to our shared drive (manual copies will work too)
5) I had each of the new employees read the policies and sign a statement acknowledging their understanding.
I felt that this process gave everyone a fair and equitable opportunity to become a part of the team. I untimately had to help one employee move no but the rest embraced the new environment and became part of the team?
Change is hard for everyone......but when they all know the rules coming in......the decision to comply or not is theirs to make. You will have done everything possible to give them an opportunity without negatively impacting your operations.
My two cents....
Steve, I can appreciate the quandary that you're in. I really like the suggestions that Terry shared. From a moral viewpoint you're really asking whether it's right to jeopardize the hard-won positive climate that you have fostered with your current employees by adding in the questionable new drivers.
Have you interviewed the 3 drivers from the other company in the same way you would a new hire? Doing so may alleviate, or confirm, your concerns. Don't feel obligated to hire someone that you believe will damage your company. As painful as that may be to let them go now, how much more painful and expensive will it be to have to ask them to move on 6 months down the road.
Interesting quandary. First congrats on being able to expand your business.
I was thinking along the lines of what Terry has already expressed. I thought about how I would feel in different shoes. As The Business Owner selling the business, I would hope or even require as part of the sell that employess be retained for a period of time. If I was an employee of the company being sold, I would hope to get a chance to show what I could do and would appreciate the heads up like Terry has outlined.
So if you let the employees go now would you be giving them a severance pay? Might dangle a carrot out there that if they don't think they will fit in the new culture as you have outlined......you will offer this amount if they choose to leave now and move on. Offer good for say 7 days. Then as Terry said, they have a chose for themselves to fall in line.
Don't hesitate at first time that they test the boundaries to show them it is not acceptable and they need to move on.
I would suggest this would be a good time to talk to the existing employees regarding the rules/policies. This would be reminder to employees that the rules apply to them, too. Doing so will head off an existing employee doing something not acceptable and the new employee seeing this and thinking hum maybe the boundary is a moving target.
You did not mention if you have relatives working for you. Sometimes they think the rules do not apply to them and again a new employee seeing the boundaries are different will test the boundary.
Not sure how unemployment works in the case of a company being sold then downsized in the reorganization. Something to look into to make you feel better that they can get some money if let go. But probably not get enough to pay the monthly bills for a family. You may have to wait for awhile to hire new employees in the same position if you lay them off.
Look forward to seeing others thoughts. Pass along what the other forum comments on.
Best of Luck in your future endeavors.
Reading in your question that you would not hire these people from ground zero, I would have a hard time hiring them and taking that chance. It is possible they will rise to the occasion, but it is a very risky move.
Personally, I would not hire them simply because of expectations.
The choice you are torn between is a noble choice, but in the long run, would you rather risk your company culture (your team's current level of happiness and camaraderie, or have to make even more hires after confirming that your suspicion to hire was a mistake. Taking the risk means more work, more stress, and more emotions than if you were to set them free to find a new opportunity.
You could give a probationary period, however from what I read in your response, it would likely not be long before you would have to correct them and then let them go.
I wouldn't hire if I was in your shoes, but I do understand the compassionate side and giving them the chance too. (As Dan says, 85% of the hiring decisions are made based on whether the candidate will fit well within the organization and on non-techincal skills. It is easier to train for skill than it is for character, attitude, and habits.)
Hope this helps.
Steve, just circling back.
Were our comments helpful? Any other thoughts?
The input was valuable, and the decision is not yet made. I'm about 4 weeks from the final decision to purchase the business. Evaluation steps taking place now, including staffing.
All of the comments helped me increase my awareness of the importance of hiring decisions. This includes having a realistic view of the company for the prospective employee.
If I acquire the business, I'm leaning towards not taking them. The separation would be the responsibility of the seller, as this will be an asset sale, not a stock sale of an existing business.
I have a list of applicants that fit the model that we are looking for, and in order to develop people, we have to start with the right "raw material". I know, this sounds to formal and mechanical, but it is true. While compassion is admirable and desirable, it is not helping them if they do not fit. It only delays the inevitable, and then escalates the hard feelings.
Soon enough, we will have the answer on the sale. Then, the fun begins!
Good deal. It sounds like you have a solid plan.
You can always allow the existing employees to interview for the openings and keep those who might be a good fit.
If this is an asset buy then I think you are moving in the right direction.
This seems like a very wise path through the difficult challenge. Best success executing this plan when the time comes.
Terry and Cam - Thanks for the interest. One hidden feature of this group is that our conversations and interest can help with accountability. It is easy to slip when you operate alone.