Performance management

Every business needs its shining stars in order to succeed.

This is a fairly obvious statement.

In this post however, we are going to talk about the dangers of hiring black holes that can swallow up your shining stars and eventually, your whole business.

I know it sounds extreme but let me explain.

In the past we have discussed the idea of “the Darth Vader” of a business. This isn’t correct in this context, as what we are discussing today are those employees who are pretty average, uninspiring and over time hinder your progress overall before dragging your higher performers down with them.

You found your stars during the early days that helped to transform your business and are still with you today. As a result, your business grew rapidly, which is the case with a lot of our clients. Obviously, you then need more bums on seats to meet the growing demands of your business. In the haste to get this accomplished, you might find yourself taking on individuals that are pretty average. Unlike your stars, these average individuals give the bare minimum effort but they still get the job done…just.

The danger here is that these uninspiring employees are going to spread their uninspiring attitudes like a plague. Because let’s face it, if your stars are giving it their absolute all and are getting paid the same as someone doing the bare minimum, that is pretty demotivating.

Why bother going the extra mile if the reward is the same?

But we always say that money is not everything. In the list of priorities, you’ll be surprised to find that money is actually lower down than say, just enjoying the job and respecting the company.

So if your stars notice this average employee and it goes unchallenged, they are going to feel undervalued and will eventually lose all the sparkly things that make them a shining star; their enthusiasm to get up for work in the morning, the drive to make the business succeed.

So what do you do?

  • Don’t bury your head in the sand – Yes, it may be a difficult conversation but it needs to be had. By taking action you are immediately showing your team that you understand that the average employee is not performing at the same standards and there will be repercussions.
  • Clarity – Make sure it is very clear what standards you expect everyone to perform to. That conversation may even be enough to spur them into action and fix the problem themselves.
  • Aim to retain – You don’t need to jump straight to a dismissal. Your first choice should always be to try and train your average employees.
  • Reward – Make sure your stars get the recognition they deserve. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant reward because sometimes just knowing you are valued is enough.
  • Don’t be afraid to say goodbye – For the welfare of your business and your team, if training, time and incentives don’t work to improve their performance, they probably need to be let go. Some issues come down to a person’s personality and are too deep rooted to ever be changed.
  • What makes your stars, stars? – What is it that drives your stars to work the way they do? Some people are naturally passionate about what they do and take pride in performing to high standards. Whatever it is that makes them shine, identify it and look for it when you are hiring.

Here are some other posts you might find useful:

Hiring your purple squirrel 

Probationary Periods

Psychometric testing: Is it worth it? 

If you want support in recruiting your shining stars or are interested in how psychometric testing could help identify the traits you are looking for, then give us a call on 01256 328 428.