Six hiring and firing lessons we can learn from Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle

Boris Johnson has made some surprising choices when it came to firing people during his cabinet reshuffling.

These include Theresa Villiers, an MP for 15 years and who was considered one of the most senior conservative politicians, as well as Esther McVey, former GMTV Presenter, turned ambitious politician. Others that have been fired include Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. 

It is speculated that most people who have been fired were against Johnson’s Brexit Plan, were too much on the fence, or refused to go against their beliefs. And those who have replaced them, are because they have stood by the Prime Minister. So has Boris Johnson hired or fired for the right reasons?

Don’t make hiring and firing personal

When it comes to hiring and firing, it’s important that the decisions aren’t reflective of your personal preferences, but of your business values and vision. The concept of “hire slow, fire fast” is a real thing but what are the guidelines for this philosophy?  

To help you, leading business advisor and coach Ceylan Boyce has listed her six dos and don’ts when building a strong team and what we can learn from the reshuffling. 

1) Do hire someone who questions you

Do hire someone if they understand you’re the vision of your business, but also able, and brave to question things.

As a boss, your duty is not to be always right but is to give people enough room and a voice to prove you might be wrong. Understanding your vision means developing ideas, new perspectives and understanding to what isn’t working and preventing you from achieving it.

Their questions may lead to directions, answers, and solutions that can improve and grow the business. 

2) Don’t hire for skills and knowledge

Don’t hire specifically for skills and knowledge as they can be learned, edited, changed and become aligned with the business needs.

Hire for the work ethic, values, and attitude. They are the core binder of a team that can build and take your company from good to great. 

3) Do fire for the right reasons

Do fire someone for the right reasons. Fire them if they refuse to be aligned to your business vision, have no work ethic or do not adhere to company values. But bear in mind, understanding your vision doesn’t mean agreeing with it. 

4) Don’t fire because of working conditions

Don’t fire someone because they are not aligned with your working environment or conditions such as flexible working.

What is most important is that they are aligned with your work ethics and standards. As long as they provide that, your business and you as a boss should adapt to the evolving work environment and what the future of work looks like.

More and more people are looking to achieve a strong work, life balance and want to spend time with their families. Women returning to work after maternity is also a growing market.

Imagine all the untapped potential of a highly productive, strongly ethical, high standard returner mum who needs to manage work and life and is able to provide her productivity different timings than the usual office hours. 

5) Do hire people who are better than you

Do hire people who will be or are already better than you in the job that they are doing. You are the leader that brings the crème de la crème around a vision and a company.

Hire people who are ambitious, want to succeed, and who want to learn from you. It may be intimidating to begin with, but it’s these people that are going to drive the business forward.

Hire people who  share your drive and goals, who can help you get there, pick you up when you are doubting or lacking energy because believe it or not, you are a human too and you will experience “bad” days.

Hiring people is an exercise in development, hiring the right people is an exercise in growth. 

6) Don’t fire someone for standing up for themselves

Don’t fire someone for standing up for themselves, and what they believe in.

Sajid Javid quit because Johnson asked him to fire his special advisors, and he stood up for himself. You want people with this thinking, and you don’t want to lose them by asking them to go against their beliefs and ethics.

You want to hire people who bring ideas and new perspectives to the table, and who have ethics. Surrounding yourself with yes people can feel nice and cozy but will eventually lead to a stalemate in your business. . 

Hire and fire to build a stronger, better team

Wherever you are in your business, at some point you will need to consider growth, and make decisions based on what’s right for your business and where you want it to be.

Let’s face it, firing is hard. I haven’t yet met one entrepreneur who loves firing. If you don’t want to fire people, here is the key: make your hiring process tougher than your firing process, you will have a stronger team aligned with your business vision which you will not need to fire. 

Ceylan Boyce is a leading business advisor and coach, and founder of The Academy of Women Entrepreneurs. She helps female business leaders grow, navigate and overcome the challenges within their business.

Photo by ᴠɪᴋᴛᴏʀ ꜰᴏʀɢᴀcs