All your employees can be divided in three subgroups: the best, the average and underperformers. Should you fire underperformers right away? Well, maybe you should try something else first.Roger Quinn ▼ Monday November 26, 2012 5:01PM ET
Find the right job for your employee
The inability to achieve goals should not be evaluated just through numbers. Yes, numbers are something that can be measured but even more important question is "why". Why that worker can't meet the deadline? Why he can't make a deal with the client? Why he is unhappy? If we don't ask those questions we won't be able to help anybody, but if find the answers we can help our workers and with that we can help our company.
Let's assume that you have a good selection process. That means that you have smart, educated people in your company. So, why they underperform? If they are OK, then their environment is to blame, right? Right. In most cases the problem is not in people, it's in their working environment. In order to help our employees we must ask ourselves and them two questions: are they on the right job and what's wrong with their working conditions.
Let's say that you hired a group of excellent computer programmers and divided them into groups: one to write user interface, another application's core, and the third to conduct the testing. And here is the trap: did you ask them what they want to do? If you assume, as many managers do and make a terrible mistake, that a programmer will be good on any job related to programming, then you are on the best way to make people miserable and your products poor.
A simple question, "What do you wanna do?", can solve many problems. Unfortunately, that question is omitted too many times. One of the primary goals of human resources department is to put right people in right place and you must pay the utmost attention to that. HR studies show that one simple and short conversation can reveal why your employee is not satisfied. Put him in the right shoes and you'll get the star. As simple as that.
Another important issue is a working environment. In other words: are your employees fully aware what are you expecting from them? Yes, I know, it seems crazy, but it's very easy to leave them on no man's land. You have so much to do, middle managers have so much to do, and poor employees are left without precise information. If you want the job to be done properly, you must set clear goals with no doubt who is in charge for what. Every worker must know his responsibilities and what his work means for the company.
Again, one simple question will reveal a lot: "Do you know what you have to do?" If you get a blurry answer you will know that corporate communications are not working well. Make sure that workers on all levels know very clearly what their duties and responsibilities are. You will be amazed how much the situation will improve. So, ask those two simple questions before you fire anybody. They are simple but they can be crucial in making workers happy and the company successful. And you won't have to deal with the toughest situation in manager’s life: how to say "You are fired." ■