(1) To fire someone: To tell them that they don’t work here anymore because they did something bad.

I had to fire John because he was lying about his sales figures.

(2) To layoff (or in the UK, they say to make redundant): To tell someone they don’t work here anymore because the company doesn’t need them anymore.

Sales are terrible these days. We had to layoff 100 factory workers.

(3) Performance Improvement Plan: A plan for an employee to get better.

John has been late and doing bad work, so we’re going to put him on a performance improvement plan. I think he’ll get better.



1. What was Patty McCord’s job at Netflix?

a. CFO

b. CEO

c. CTO

2. Why doesn’t Patty like performance plans?

a. They don’t work if the employee doesn’t have a good skill set

b. They don’t motivate well

c. Employees can’t learn on the job

3. What other company is famous for firing bad employees fast?

a. HBC

b. Amazon

c. GE

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday


fired By Jeremy Schaar

If you’ve been a manager, then at some point you’ve probably had to fire someone. If you haven’t had to fire someone, well, it probably means you’re just getting started in your career.

Today I’ll present some English we use when we need to fire someone. I’ll also tell you about Patty McCord–the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix. (Netflix is a company that lets you watch movies and TV shows. You can watch them online or get DVDs in the mail.) She has some pretty famous thoughts on firing.

For almost 15 years Patty McCord was the Chief Talent Officer at Netflix. She’s famous in Silicon Valley for her thoughts on hiring, firing, and building a good company culture. Here’s a link to a great article about her. And here’s my favorite quotation from that article. Patty McCord is talking about how she deals with a bad employee:

I did my six months out thing and realized she wasn’t qualified, and I put her on a plan even though it’s not an issue of performance, it’s an issue of skillset.

She’s saying, a performance improvement plan won’t work if the person doesn’t have the right skills.

Instead, I could have told the employee, “here’s what I’m going to need six months from now, and here’s the talent and skills I’ll need.” Then you tell her, “It’s not you. I don’t want you to fail. I don’t want to publicly humiliate you.”

She may not like it, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the other way. People can take it if it’s the truth.

The other option is to just be honest with the employee and fire them right away. Basically, she’s saying to fire people faster. Give them some extra money (a severance package) and help them find another job, but don’t keep them if they’re bad.

The advantage of this system is that you won’t waste time and money on bad people. Bad employees are unproductive and if you fire them quickly, then you can just give them money instead of wasting that money trying to make them better.

And this idea isn’t just from Patty. It’s also a very popular way of thinking at GE. So, what do you think? Is it a good idea? Personally, I’m not so sure. Next week, I’ll present the other end of this debate.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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