Monday, March 20, 2006

Low Performing Employees: Expert Says Dump Them

How do you deal with low performers? Get rid of them, according to Quint Studer, CEO of Studer Group and author of “Hardwiring Excellence: Purpose, Worthwhile Work, Making a Difference.”
"Make no mistake: your employees don’t want to work with low performers. Nothing makes employees as discouraged and resentful as having to co-exist with people who don’t pull their own weight. In fact, low performers usually drive high performers right out the door. Turning a blind eye to these people quickly drains the emotional bank account you're trying to build up with your good employees. However hard it may seem, you must move these people up or out.”
Another piece of management advice: Avoid creating a "We/They" culture. The temptation to get on your employees’ good side by saying, for instance, “Well, I fought for the budget increase, but this is all I could get,” can be huge. It may feel easier or more comfortable at the moment, but ultimately you’re dividing the staff instead of uniting them. Of course, few leaders deliberately foster a “We/They” mentality, but it can be easy to do subconsciously. “Interestingly, the other side of the coin—‘I know you’ve begged for more money for years and here I took care of it in one afternoon!’—can be equally divisive,” adds Studer. “When you solve a big problem overnight, you might be undermining mid-level supervisors who’ve been working on a problem for a long time. Don’t walk around and perform magic.”
Be open and truthful with your employees, no matter how difficult it may be. “Let’s say you know that part of your organization is going to be outsourced in the next few months, or that there are going to be major cuts in benefits,” says Studer. “Even if it doesn’t directly affect your team, it certainly impacts them on an emotional level. Once the decision is final, you owe it to your employees to tell them. Don’t wait for them to read it in the paper. They will know that you knew all along—and a huge amount of trust will be lost.”


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