What to do with Low-Performers!

Jack Welch once said that cutting bottom 10% of your low performing workforce a few years in a row would bring transformation and performance!

Some leaders latch onto this statement and would like to implement that in their own environment but often run into a brick wall (not build by Donald J. Trump), only to find out that it’s not all that simple. Actually, it is often a very time consuming and draining process especially in a heavy union environment.

So what to do instead, remember, my glass is always half full therefore I prefer to spend some time with low-performers to see “WHY” they are disengaged and what it would take to reengage them.

Being both a realist and pragmatist, I’m not delusion in my thinking that everybody can be converted but I have found that the fast majority can be made into contributing members of the workforce. Collectively, we need to be creative and mindful when exploring the options with low-performers.

You should start by carefully listening to their story…. They all have one and most are well aware of their lack of productivity or participation. Next, it’s your turn… take the time to set the stage…. Carefully outline “WHY” we need every staff member to be engaged followed by expressing how it feels when they don’t play nice in the sandbox. Let this sink in a bit before transitioning to the negotiation phase of the meeting. By now, you have outlined the needs of the organization and you can ask where the low-performer can become an active/engaged employee who will be productive and goal oriented once again.

Applying the 80/20 rule, 80% of the low-performers will express interest to be engaged in an area that connects with them emotionally. At times this will be within their workplace but don’t limit yourself and take advantage if your staff member wants to move to another department. This is your opportunity to seal the deal, come to an agreement on how to proceed, set some realistic goals and meet with them frequently until goals are met.

A word of advice, I have learned this the hard way myself, never promise something you can’t deliver……live by the rule, “Under Promise, Over Deliver”.

Converting a low-performer into a productive & engaged staff member is worth its weight in gold!


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