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Would you hope for a mediocre employee to quit rather than face the unpleasant task of termination?”

This recent New York Times article (http://cot.ag/gpggW1) talks about how many business owners hold on to their "sixes" and subsequently hurt their business by not firing mediocre employees. I'm not as interested in the controversy it sparked about the rating of employees, but rather, how business owners and managers deal with the unpleasant task of firing someone that's hurting their business subtly - with mediocre performance and a poisonous attitude. One question in the article is, "Here’s the real test: What would your visceral response be if they quit? Relief? I think that says it all." If you're in that situation, do you hope for them to quit or do you move forward with termination? Would you warn your employee first? Do you have a hard time making such tough decisions?
By: Guest
Date: Wed-Feb-17-2016-
Response
0
Christine,
The research I have seen on engagement says that people who are actively disengaged (read poor performers and unhappy) are not any more inclined to leave than people who are engaged! They quit and stay.
Leaving someone in place with the hopes that they will quit rarely works out.
One of the most important roles of management is moving mediocre or non performers up or out. Leaving them in place drains resources and is unfair to the organization and their performing co-workers. It also cause your employees to lose respect for you.
My advice is to cowboy up- let them know they need to improve their performance and give them a chance to do that, but if they can't or won't you need to "make them available to your competition"
This is exactly what Collins meant when he said "the enemy of great isn't bad it is 'good' as in good enough..."
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
Christine: I like what the others have said. Collectively, there is some excellent advice in what they have posted. Cultural fit is important when hiring. Corporate culture often dictates whether situations such as this are allowed to fester. If you find one situation such as the one you describe, you will probably find others. My perspective is that when it comes time for "that" meeting, nobody should be surprised about the conversation. That goes to an organization that is proactive about expectations and performance. If an employee is worth having, they are worth nurturing and growing. Those things come part and parcel with an active performance management process. Nobody should have to wonder if they are doing a good job or not. The problem is, often the weakest skill sets in an organization surround performance management. That's why an organization gets to the point that you describe with an employee. All in all, be anything but passive when it comes to an employee who is not performing. The situation will only get worse. And it will begin to affect the attitudes of those who work with or near those folks.
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
My view on this is based on the premise that most employee issues are related to culture fit, this seems to be the pressing trend. The question I would want answered is, why did you hire them in the first place, how did they get to this point in their performance, and how did you contribute to their current circumstance.
So often we want to place blame on the employee, but let's remember, we hired that employee to begin with and if you are going to tell me that you weren't able to identify this issue in an interview, I'll press you for an explanation of your process, and in most cases, it will be ineffective. Mediocrity isn't endemic to the individual, it's bred in the culture. The reason that a situation like this arises to begin with, is lack of consequences. If the employee's behavior wasn't acceptable at one point in their performance, I'm going to guess that there were never any consequences for that behavior, so they continued until the employer couldn't take it anymore. If you don't have a culture of accountability, you will breed mediocrity, it happens every minute of every day. Would I want that person to quit, yes, but for the right reason, their sanity and self-esteem.
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
Bad Apples can spoil the whole bunch.. So can bad employees. Allowing an employee to maintain bad behavior will foster resentment, frustration and angst amongst the other employees. Ultimately work will suffer by all.. which will ultimately be more expensive than a termination
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
Great question Christine. I agree with much of what other experts have said and might add that I would do everything possible to learn what the "mediocre" employee loves doing and try to draw upon that. I've found many employees are labeled "poisonous" without anyone in leadership or HR even having a conversation or series of conversations with them to determine why the behaviors are occurring. Challenging employees can be redirected if we learn about them, what they love to do and what truly motivates them. Once we know a little more about them we can encourage them to channel their energy in a different direction. In extreme cases, those who can't or won't adapt tend to show themselves the door but not because we didn't try to help them grow.
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
I'm one that believes that everyone wants to succeed - and most know when they are not. The needs of the company and the business unit evolves and, in some cases, people are are not interested in keeping pace (and some simply cannot). I've found that most mediocre employees are not motivated in their job and are also not motivated to find another. Thus, while terminations are not easy it is an opportunity for the company and the employee to find a better fit.
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
To Mark's point - when you talk, be specific. What exactly do you want the individual to improve. It's often easier to talk about performance objectives - they are easily measured and tracked. But if it's a behavior issue, you still have to talk about what behavior you are observing, it's impact on the individual, team, & organization, and the type of behavior you are looking for (positive alignment). Then - as John added - talk about both positive and negative consequences (informal - e.i., impact on individual or team; and formal - i.e., potential disciplinary action if appropriate). An added thought - I have seen where a major culture shift (such as a merger or acquisition) resulted in stellar performers going mediocre. They stay, hoping they can find a way to "make it work" in the new environment, but their energies are spent on themselves rather than the organization. You often hear "This is not the company I joined," as a clue they are struggling. Again, coaching plays a key role in helping them either stay or go. If there are opportunities, help them connect. But if the horse is dead, help them dismount. As leaders, you have to expect both outcomes to be viable.
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
0
Christine, an underperforming employee should be guided to find another job if she can't or won't perform as required. Many owners think hiring successful employees is a chance event so firing a mediocre employee just increases the chances of hiring a poorer performer. Hiring, training, mentoring, coaching, supervising, etc., of a new hire is emotionally draining so we should not be surprised that so many managers fail to fire quickly if ever. Mark, "Leaving someone in place with the hopes that they will quit rarely works out." is an excellent observation. "My advice is to cowboy up- let them know they need to improve their performance and give them a chance to do that, but if they can't or won't you need to 'make them available to your competition.'" I agree but it doesn't seem fair to the competition. Just joking. John P., cultural fit is important and hiring managers almost always hire employees who fit their culture. Most hiring managers hire from the intersection of cultural fit and skills match which explains why so many new hires are less than successful--they do not hire from the intersection of cultural fit, skills match, and job match. If hiring managers do not take into account job match, then about 20% of their news hires will become very successful employees. John L. great thoughts.
[d] By: Guest
Date: Thu-Feb-18-2016
Response
What is 1 + 100



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