Posts Tagged ‘superstar employee’

The Problem With Okay Employees

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Problem employees, the ones that pretty consistently perform at a low level and make all sorts of mistakes, are easy to deal with. They either improve or you help them find a place where they can perform better (at least, you should do that). Almost any manager can deal with a problem employee because the solution is so obvious, and there isn’t much doubt as to whether they’re doing a good job or not.

Superstar employees are pretty easy to deal with, too.

The real problem employees are the ones that are “just okay.” You know, the ones that perform at a 5 or so out of 10. They’re the ones that are really challenging.

No one likes to let someone go, especially an employee who is not doing a bad job. And these “okay employees” are not doing a bad job – they’re just not doing a good job. That’s why these “okay employees” hang on – because no one wants to let them go, and most managers don’t know how to help a person like this perform at a higher level (I love a challenge like that, so let me know if you have one on your hands).

Most managers don’t like to be seen as someone who fires and slashes their way through a team of people. They don’t want to be seen as being unfair. Most managers would prefer to be liked, rather than feared and hated. And letting “okay employees” go can have that effect on a manager’s reputation.

But I ask you, is it fair to make your good, really good and superstar employees work alongside people who are just there to collect a paycheck? Is it fair to your customers? Is it fair to your business?

What isn’t fair is letting these “okay employees” drag a team or organization down. It’s not fair to not do something about them. Either do something to improve their performance (the first step and definitely my preference), or help them find a place where they can perform at a higher level (in most cases, that’s what they’d prefer, too).

The one strategy that definitely doesn’t work is hiding from the issue, with your head in the sand.