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HR Matters // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results
TALENT MAXIMIZER Vol 10, Issue 4 - April 2013

I was recently invited to attend a summit where thought-leaders were being brought in from around the US to discuss best practices in leadership. We were asked as part of the registration process to sign up in advance for the sessions we would be attending. One session in particular stood out the most for me. The topic was on Engaging Your Average Rated Workforce. Why? Because I could not understand why you would want to invest resources into what would appear to be a poor investment.

What if instead, you got rid of these average performers and replaced them with high performers and you reinvested your money in those who you know you could take from great to outstanding? I pondered this for a while and then returned to the online registration to make my final choices, only to find that the session on Engaging Your Average Rated Workforce was the only session that was completely full. What does that tell you about the state of most businesses and their workforce?

It doesn’t take much to stand out in the crowd these days! I hope you will keep this in mind as you read through this month’s article on keeping the best. Then take the next step and make room for some great new hires.

Book News!
It’s official. My new book has a name and will be released in September. Talent Magnetism: How to build a workplace that attracts the best—and gets them to stick around. The book is jammed packed with best practices of world-class organizations that will turn what you know about recruiting and retention upside down. To learn how you can apply these principles to your business or to book a keynote speech, please call 413-582-1840.

Keep the Best; Fire the Rest

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson

I was on the phone the other day with an executive who wanted to discuss a problem employee that happened to be one of his top sales people. This in itself is not unusual, as I’m a trusted advisor to a select group of C-level executives. However, this executive and I seem to have the same conversation over and over again. I listened intently as he described the disruption this person was causing throughout the organization. “He plays by his own rules, which makes life extremely difficult for those who have to clean up after him, time and time again,” noted the executive. “His sales tactics are questionable, and seem to be leaving a bad taste in the mouths of our customers.” Yet, he brings in the revenue.

I told my client that he needed to remove this guy immediately, unless he wanted to replace everyone else on his team. Top sales people are worth their weight in gold, but not if they are weighing down the rest of the organization with their mishigas, which is Yiddish for nonsense.

Everyone tries to hire the best, although sometimes things don’t work out as planned. If you are in business long enough, you will experience situations where a good hire turns into a bad hire due to circumstances you could not have predicted. Here are five things to consider as you weigh out your options.

1. Can this situation be turned around? Sometimes you can pinpoint the exact moment that an employee’s performance has taken a turn for the worst. Perhaps it was the day an employee’s spouse filed for divorce, or when you fired the employee’s boss and left him to fend for himself. In situations like these, it makes sense to try to get the employee back on track, particularly if they have proven themselves to be a valuable employee.

2. How will your decision impact the rest of the team? In small businesses, where team members’ work relies heavily upon each other, the loss of just one member can send the team into a downward spiral. Of course, the same thing can happen if you allow weak links to remain in their positions. Business owners must carefully weigh out the pros and cons of releasing an employee before simply handing the employee his or her final paycheck. One factor to consider is the impact this person’s negative performance is having on the overall operation and the company’s reputation. Also consider the availability of staff to pick up the workload before a suitable replacement has been found.

3. How is this situation personally affecting you? Are you having difficulty sleeping at night thinking about this situation? Are your days being spent defending someone who you know has to go? Is your significant other tired of hearing you talk about it? It’s understandable that leaders share business situations at home with trusted loved ones. However, at some point you must take action. Make a decision, prepare to execute, and move forward. Anything less will result in additional stress for you and those around you.

4. Does the timing really matter? I’ve heard it all, including, “We can’t do this now because the audit is coming up.” Followed by, “We are heading into our busiest season.” And then of course there are the holidays, meaning there is a two-month self-imposed moratorium where no terminations may occur. Take it from me; there is never a good time to fire someone. Just do it sooner rather than later.

5. Will you regret your decision? I’ve been in business for a long time, and I’ve never had an executive tell me that in retrospect they wished they hadn’t fired someone. In most cases, they tell me they wish they had done it sooner.

While it’s certainly everyone’s intent to hire great people, circumstances do change. Address situations when they arise to minimize the disruption that occurs when a great hire isn’t as great as you thought they would be.

© 2013 Matuson Consulting. All rights reserved.

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About Roberta Matuson

Roberta is the woman they call at Monster.com to talk about talent. Roberta just completed a series of videos for Monster to help business leaders pull in and keep top performers. These videos will be featured on Monster and in future newsletters. Be sure to check our website (matusonconsulting.com) for additional tips on talent maximization.

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Tel: 413.582.1840 | Tel: 617.566.8978
Fax: 413.582.7111

© 2013 Matuson Consulting. All Rights Reserved.