It was certainly a shock for TV, but would Lord Sugar’s firing spree have stood up in the real world? Did the candidates deserve another chance? Read on to find out…

Wow. That was quite the finish to an episode of the Apprentice we think you’ll agree. Lord Sugar pointing the finger not once, or even twice, but three times! Thereby clearing the boardroom of ‘dead wood’ and giving him the opportunity to call the house and remind the others of his new hard line strategy. But what would this have meant for him in the real world?

Well, it certainly wouldn’t have been over such a small time frame, but there are comparisons to be made that new employers may want to take note of should they find themselves with employees that aren’t performing to the level required.

Setting expectations – no excuses from the first week

If this were a real job – although a slightly exaggerated version of it – then Lord Sugar fairly clearly stipulated his expectations of the candidates at the start of the process. Something that employers should do when taking on new staff – although “succeed or at least one of you will get fired” might be a bit harsh to start with.

Whilst obviously overblown, it is essential that you make clear what you expect of your new employee in their role. This helps you to benchmark performance when it comes to tasks like staff appraisals, or even disciplinary procedures. In this case, the candidates didn’t really have much to argue against as they’d had their opportunity to shine and knew the rules.

Fair warning – is a couple of stints in the boardroom enough?

In reality? No.

If you want to dismiss someone, then the main thing is to ensure that you give fair warning and allow them to be heard. This enables them to give their side of the story from which you can gather evidence and then move forward with the disciplinary procedure; usually a three stage process verbal and then formal written warnings – unless the employee has done some really bad like, theft, fighting, or seriously damaged the company. Don’t think we can count this as having been done by Lord Sugar – although they did get their chance to give their side of the story there wasn’t really much warning given to one of the candidates.

It is also essential to keep the employee informed, ensuring that they understand that you are thinking about dismissal. I think the candidates should really be aware of this by now though… I mean they aren’t quite that arrogant. Are they?

So, once again The Apprentice has dealt out some surprises for us here at citrusHR. If you want to find out more about any of the procedures mentioned above, or are looking for just this sort of guidance (without all of Nick Hewer’s pouting) – then try a FREE trial of our system and see how our management guides and array of other features can help you!

Until next week, when the search for a bit of HR sense in The Apprentice… continues.

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