The 2018 Jobs Reports have been great and overall that’s wonderful news for our economy. Unemployment is at a 50+ year low! Of course, for business owners, this is a good news/bad news story. The good news is there are many employed people available to buy our goods and services. The bad news is finding and keeping employees is more difficult than ever. AND, it will not get any easier for years to come.
Because of this, I get one question more than any other in my consulting practice and in my role as a Vistage Chair. “John, what should I do about (insert name here)? His performance is extremely marginal… and it’s not getting any better.” My first response is always, “Is he better than nothing?” That question sounds so cold – curiously, it usually gets a laugh (sometimes an uncomfortable laugh). I am dead serious.
When I owned my company, we had what we called “The Allied Minimum Standard of Employment”. It went something like this. Manager A would approach me and complain about one of her direct reports. I would ask if that report were better than nothing? That means, if we terminated the underperformer and didn’t replace him or her, would the company be better off? If the answer was “Yes,” we took it a step farther and had a firm rule that if the offending employee was WORSE THAN NOTHING (WTN), that employee had to leave –immediately! Typically, we reserved this WTN standard for toxic employees, liars, thieves, or anyone who operated outside of our Core Values. Those terminations were fairly easy decisions to make. The tough calls were when someone was better than nothing…. but not by much.