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How Some Companies Ask for Excellence but Reward Mediocrity

Author:   Glenn Shepard
Date:   April 22, 2014
Category:   Management & Performance Evaluations

 

   
 
   

 

 
Poplar Bluff, MO April 23
Carrolton, GA May 1
Tupelo, MS May 13
Laurel, MS May 14
Rockford, IL May 20
Bloomington, IL May 21
Jacksonville, IL May 22
 
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Dear Glenn,

 

How much obligation do I have to an employee as far as notice when I fire him? How many warnings do I ethically owe people?

 

- Andrea in Charlotte, NC

 

Dear Andrea,

 

You used three very interesting words: "Obligation", "Owe", and "Ethically". You obviously want to do the right thing.

    Your first obligation is to your company, because they're paying you to manage to the best of your abilities.

   It'll cost the average business  $3,000 to lose an employee. If there's any chance someone is salvageable, do what you can to salvage your investment.  But at the point you conclude someone will never succeed, they need to go - no matter how many warnings they've received.

     Keeping someone on payroll who can't or won't do what they were hired to do is a gross dereliction of duty for a manager.

      Thanks for your question.   

 

- Glenn in Nashville, TN

 
Click here to submit a question. If yours is selected, you'll win your choice of the "I'm the Boss, Not the Babysitter" or "Work Is Not for Sissies"  coffee mug.

One reason everyone hates performance evaluations is because most companies donít properly train their managers how to do them.

 

One common mistake is using a scale that's too narrow to differentiate between good and outstanding.

 

Imagine that youíre evaluating three employees on a broad scale of 1-100.

 

Employee #1 is an 80. Heís okay but has plenty of room for improvement.

 

Employee #2 is a 90. Heís good, but still has some room for improvement.

 

Employee #3 is a 99 and is as close to perfect as they come.

 

There's 19 points difference between Employee #1 and Employee #3. Now look at the disaster that will happen if they're evaluated on a narrow scale of 1-5.

 

Employee #1 gets a 4 because thatís the mathematical equivalent of 80.

 

Employee #2 also gets a 4, because thatís the only place you can put him on the narrow scale.

 

Employee #3 also gets a 4 because he's not perfect, so 4 is the highest he can get.

 

This creates a disincentive for Employee #1 to improve, because he now gets the same score (and raise) as his harder working counterpart.

 

It also creates a demotivator for Employee #3 to continue working so hard, because he now gets the same score and raise as his so-so counterpart.

 

The result will be mediocrity.

 

While you might not go as far as using a 1-100 scale, use a scale broad enough to distinguish mediocre from good, and good from great.

 

 

 

To Your Success,

 

 

 

 

Glenn Shepard

 

 

 

P.S. The only thing that encourages mediocrity more than an insufficient evaluation system is across-the-board raises that are given regardless of individual performance.

 

 

 

 

 

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