Calls and questions I receive on a weekly basis.
* I need to fire my VP of HR. Can I do that?
* How do I fire my Director of Talent?
* We made a bad hire, and I want to get rid of my HR lady. Also, we don’t really need HR. Can we just lay her off?
Then I’m asked, “Can you help?”
Yeah, welcome to the fast and loose world of executive leadership. Everybody in the company knows that the HR leader isn’t doing a very good job — except the head of human resources herself who thinks she’s pretty amazing.
Sometimes the executives are right; however, sometimes the HR lady is doing a great job and doesn’t truly deserve to get fired.
It doesn’t matter, though. The answer is YES to the question, “Can I fire my VP of HR?”
You can fire anyone at any time for almost any reason. It’s just a matter of how much you want to spend to make amends for whatever transgression needs forgiveness.
So let’s take a step back.
Do you want to fire your VP of human resources?
Have you talked about this with your executive leadership team? Does your assistant know about it? Have you already consulted with your IT department to shut off her email?
Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Your HR lady knows. Sorry, man. What’s worse is that she is waiting with a list of demands. And, honestly, you get double-negative-points if you’ve already found an ops guy you know to replace her in the interim. Like she’s not going to find out?
In the aforementioned example, executives call and ask me to help facilitate a conversation with the head of human resources. Then they ask for help to speak to the HR team who will be left in the lurch. They tell me, “We’ve already talked to our inside legal team and outside counsel. We’ve got the paperwork in order.”
Yeah, okay, that’s great. Let me get on a plane and help. It might be too late to make this pretty, but maybe we can reverse-engineer a script that saves face and doesn’t scare the living Jesus out of your remaining HR team.
There’s a better way, though.
Sometimes I’m called, and the ducks are in a row. VP has been coached. Shit is locked down, and nobody has leaked a word of the impending termination to the head of human resources. She already knows she’s not performing. This won’t surprise her. A generous severance package has been crafted that goes above and beyond her employment contract. Nobody wants to lose those talented millennial kids who are working hard to make HR a better department, either, so they’ll ask the head of human resources to help deliver the right kind of message to the staff.
Can I help? Yeah, totally. It rarely happens, but when it does, I love coming up with a strategy to help win the hearts and minds of the HR team. It’s fun to get them involved in taking back their HR departments. And it’s nice if we can consider someone for an interim leadership role and view this as a developmental opportunity.
Gosh, I’m dreaming, but you can fire your VP of HR without a ton of drama. You don’t even need a consultant. You just need a good plan and someone to give you a little perspective.
So do you need to fire your VP of HR? Stay strong, slow down, and have faith that you’ll find a good replacement. There are so many people out there who are chomping at the bit to work in a progressive organization and do great HR work.
Don’t screw up their chances to do good work by blowing up your exit strategy with the existing VP of HR.