Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

The Dark Side: Firing in Holacracy

Dear Practitioners of Holacracy,

how do you handle Firing with Holacracy? We are currently setting up a process on Hiring and Firing. The Hiring seems to be easy: if the responsible Roles agree and the budget is available go and hire the person. Easy.

Firing on the other hand seems a bit harder. We don't have any proper process in place and those processes which work in the old world seem a little off in a Holacratic organization. A traditional escalation process might look like this:

1st step: Verbally requesting certain outcomes (project results, behaviour changes, etc.)
2nd step: Verbal and written warning including ultimatum
3rd step: Evaluation of situation and termination of contract / dismissal

It's surely possible to implement such a process in Holacracy but to me it somehow feels wrong; this process doesn't seem very self-organized and it doesn't seem like the future of organizations.

My general idea is to have some sort of transparent process that can be triggered by any partner of the organization if certain criteria are met. I would like this process to redirect people into a future which could mean exiting the company or reallocating talents elsewhere in the organization. Have you figured out any exemplary processes yet?

6 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode
12/18/2015

Hi Friedrich,

Most interesting question.

From my perspective, you have to :

  • design an app  describing the firing process,
  • then to adopt this "Firing" app through a policy in a gov meeting of the general circle.

This app has to be designed by a role (HR) accountable for that.

II've seen a such app once, but I don't find it in the Holacracy Appstore. The main idea was to have a comitee with 3 roles (advocate, lead link, and ?) deciding of firing or not the person.

One important point - and the first one - from my perspective : firing someone means that that person does not hold any role in the organization. So before this last end, the escalation scenario could be :
• taking somebody out of a role (lead link decision)
• reallocating the person to another role (lead link decision + reallocating talents process)
• if the person does not fit any role, firing process

Hope that helps.

Brian Robertson
12/19/2015

Hi Frederick - You can see our approach to firing embedded in this policy.  And the actual process used in the Partnership Assessment referenced is documented here.

Hope that serves as one example of a more Holacracy-compatible approach...

- Brian

Karilen Mays
12/19/2015

Frederik,

I would say one aspect of Holacracy is that it allows you to separate out organizational fit and termination from just role fit / performance per se.

A few practices/principles:

  • No one person fires
  • Clear pathways for assessing a fit for the organization that may or may not result in an exiting from the organization
  • Lead Links are not the only input into a termination decision
  • Process is transparent

Step 1: define a role to create the process as a starting point. Then try prototyping something when you have a tension would be my advice. You may need "termination or employment reviewer roles" etc. 

Those are my thoughts. Would love to see how this shapes up for you all. Please keep sharing!

Karilen 

Xuan
08/08/2017

Hi Brian, I can't seem to find the second link in your reply. Could you please let me know where to find it? 

Thanks, 

Xuan 

Brian Robertson posted:

Hi Frederick - You can see our approach to firing embedded in this policy.  And the actual process used in the Partnership Assessment referenced is documented here.

Hope that serves as one example of a more Holacracy-compatible approach...

- Brian

 

Xuan
08/09/2017
Brian Robertson posted:

Many thanks!