The Integrity News
Vol. XII No. 29
November 12, 2003
November 1, 2003
Bad employees drain your organization.
Hiring is now beginning to grow. Are you
building on the best possible core staff ?
COSTS CREATED BY
"You've probably had to deal with employees who
are not up to the task, consistently perform below
their capabilities, or exhibit a bad attitude. These
staffers fail to live up to 'The Agreement' ----- In
exchange for a paycheck, they are to (eagerly and
honestly) provide the company with their talents,
experience, and time."
"Nothing drives your good performers away faster
than knowing that a supervisor isn't dealing with
employee performance issues."
"It's a wrenching task, but you have to face up to
the need to confront poor performers and either
fix their shortcomings or fire them." "One of the
hardest things to do is to look a person in the eye,
and tell them that they are not good enough."
"Managerial lenience with poor performance is
so pervasive, because it is tough, that many companies
have turned to Forced Ranking. It forces managers
to make tough decisions that they otherwise would
not or could not make about their employees."
"Forced Ranking, or 'Relative Contribution', is a
tough-minded approach that obligates managers to
rank their staffers one against another."
"Forced Ranking schemes all assume that something
is amiss in an organization's performance or plans."
It is assumed that there is room for improvement.
"An organization is usually not as good as the
performance reviews would lead one to believe."
Usually, the staff is divided into three groups that
represent the star performers, the average performers,
and the low performers. The superstars are in line
for raises, bonuses, opportunities for advancement,
and other perks. The solid performers in the middle
group get some financial remuneration for their efforts.
The low performers get zip, and usually wind up leaving
the company. The article points out that the costs to
replace a low performer are usually less than the cost
of the low performance itself.
FIVE STEPS TO IMPROVING
1. Use a Performance Appraisal System.
Performance appraisal is the art of determining how
well an employee does their job. A good performance
appraisal system will yield a solid foundation for
decisions on promotions, development, and terminations.
You must have a set of organizational and departmental
goals, and a fair and consistent method for judging how
employees meet those goals. What you are looking for
is the employee's values and skill sets.
2. Keep HR in the Loop.
When facing a potential problem with an employee's
performance, bring the details of the situation to the
attention of HR as soon as possible. It is important
to follow corporate and HR policies appropriately.
3. Confront the Employee.
It may be that there is good reason for the employee's
poor performance. By talking with people, try to find
out what is going on, then have a direct discussion with
the employee about expectations, where the failings
are, and the impact of the poor performance. Ask the
employee why they feel they are falling short, as this
will frequently give you new information.
4. Shift the Onus for Improvement
to the Employee.
If the employee appears to want to do better work,
them ask them to take a few days to come up with
an action plan. Let the employee know that you are
there to offer assistance, but that improvement is up
If the employee denies that there is a problem, or is
offended by your evidence, then ask the employee
to take the rest of the day off to figure out what is
best for them. This dramatic gesture will bring home
the fact that performance is a serious business. If
the employee returns the next day promising to
improve, but doesn't, then you have your answer.
If the employee seems sincere, energetic, but needs
training, then you have something to work with.
5. Follow Up Frequently.
"When you are trying to get someone to perform
at a higher level, you need to measure and monitor
them more often --- generally weekly. This will
quickly give you a sense of whether the employee
"Dealing with a poor performer usually means that
you have to bring the situation to a head, but that
is not necessarily a bad thing. Given the chance,
most employees want to do right by their employers,
even as they're looking out for their own interests."
"If an employee has the right values, but the skills
are not there, the skills can usually be trained."
However, "if the employee doesn't have the right
value system, they're not worth the investment.
Values can't be trained."
Over the years, many aspects of this topic have
been addressed by The Integrity Center, Inc.
Earlier Issues of The Integrity News are at
Feel free to call us at
(972) 484-6140 to discuss any issues that you may