The Cost of Keeping Non-Performers Too Long

In last month’s post, ‘The Truth About the Cost of Your Turnover,” I introduced the idea that one of the major reasons turnover is so costly is because companies keep non-performers in their jobs too long.

Someone who is not executing their job well costs a great deal in terms of lost productivity, poor morale and lost opportunities, not to mention frustration, anxiety and stress.

Mary was a top performing salesperson in the broadcast industry.  Her specialty was new business development, which was the most valuable type of business to her company and the category she had the highest incentive to pursue.  Mary had been with the radio station for six years and was considered a top performer in the industry.

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Job Descriptions versus Job Agreements

For years I’ve been encouraging clients to create job agreements rather than job descriptions, but it wasn’t until last week that I fully appreciated the science behind why this simple shift in linguistics makes such a big difference in behavior.

Job descriptions are a one way communication of what the requirements of the job entail.  Some include goals and expectation.  Good ones include what the employee can expect from the company as well.  But even at their best, a job description is just a one-way communication from company to employee.

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Letting Non-Performers Go . . . Getting Top Performers Going

John is the CEO of a consulting firm in the Midwest.  About nine months ago, the firm added Trevor to their roster of consultants.  So far, Trevor’s progress has been slow and John is wondering what the problem is . . . is it the firm’s process for getting people up to speed or is it Trevor?

That is not an unusual concern among business leaders across many industries.  It takes a lot of time, effort and expense to hire people and at the end of that lengthy and expensive process you want to believe good decisions have been made about the people selected.  Sometimes, in our attempt to remain positive about a person’s future potential important signals about the reality of today are ignored.

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I should not have to coddle

Last week in Winnipeg, Canada, a group of CEOs braved the below zero temperatures to gather together and discuss how to improve productivity by systematizing their new hire Onboarding programs.

After completing a painful experience of calculating the cost of keeping a non-performer in a job too long, the group was “on-board” with the concept of ramping people up or weeding people out fast.

Then, as I engaged the group in a conversation about creative ways to help new hires socialize into the company’s culture, Wynn, a successful long time business leader, shook his head.  “I shouldn’t have to coddle people,” he said exasperated.

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The Devil is in the Details

Preparation before performance matters.  Would an actor be ready for the curtain to rise without detailed preparation?  Would an athlete be ready for game day without detailed preparation?  Would a presidential candidate engage in a debate without detailed preparation?  No to all of the above.

Whether you are an actor, athlete or politician, detailed preparation is the key to your success.  Why then do businesses neglect to engage in detailed preparation in advance of bringing a new employee in to their company?

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The tour of the office versus the HR paperwork . . . which comes first?

I remember my first day in my new job.  I was excited because it had been my dream to work for a radio station in downtown Chicago.  I spent hours deciding on the perfect outfit to make a good impression for my first day.  I woke up extra early and got to the office about an hour ahead of schedule just to make sure I wouldn’t arrive stressed or late because of traffic.  In my mind, I imagined meeting all of the DJs and bonding with new co-workers.  It didn’t occur to me to bring a lunch because I just thought my boss would take me out to get to know me.  I told my roommate I’d be home late because I was certain there would be drinks after work with my new work buddies.

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The Real Reasons People Leave Jobs

Steven has worked at the same consulting company for the past seven years.  When he started, he was a single man out to prove that he deserved to be on the partner track at his firm.  Over the course of the seven years, he got married, moved to a bigger house in the suburbs, and recently had his first child.

He’s never complained about his job or the money he made, but he’s noticing that things are starting to shift at the firm.  The partners are nervous about their ability to grow business in the slowing economy and the pressure is mounting for Steven and his co-workers to do more in less time.

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The Top Three Secrets That Trainers Don’t Want You To Know

Training is a tough business. The old saying, those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach, makes an already challenging business something you can’t even be proud of doing. To protect their fragile egos, trainers have a secret language that makes them feel a bit more important. Sorry fellow trainers…I’m breaking the code of silence.

After 17 years of sales, sales management, and sales training experience, as well as having conducted thousands of assessments, profiles, and interviews to determine what separates winners from underachievers, I have come up with a list of the top three secrets that trainers don’t want you to know.

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Gear Up to Hire

It is the beginning of the new year.  All the folks who made new year’s resolutions involving making a change in their work life are back in the office.  They may be in your office.  Or maybe they didn’t wait around for the end of the year bonus check and they already left, giving you an opportunity to hire someone better.

If the thought of hiring leaves you anxious and overwhelmed, you are not alone.  Many managers, business owners and key executives are apprehensive about hiring new talent because they are not sure what they will do with their new hire once that person shows up to work.

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First Onboarding Task of the New Year

After a three hour presentation to a group of CEOs from a variety of industries, a veteran CEO and a fairly new CEO both posed the same question . . . “If I could only do one of the many things you shared to improve the way we integrate new employees into our company, what would it be?”

As we start the new year, I would like to share the same recommendation I shared with the two CEOs.

Before you figure out task lists, calendars, agendas and human resources paperwork; consider the culture of your organization and how you would like to express it to your new employees.

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