3. Encourage Category 2 employees. This is the toughest category because these employees might be very strong in some areas and weak in others. A general rule of thumb: They can probably be brought up to Category 1 if they are strong in two out of three of the qualities mentioned above. If they have a great attitude and are active, for example, they probably just need a little guidance in how to re-focus the activity to become more productive. Given the expectations and a little time, they should move into Category 1. If not, they are good candidates for replacement.
Next, if you have an underperforming employee that has adequate activity and non-stellar productivity, but an indifferent or even defeatist attitude, he or she is probably headed for the chopping block. Attitudes can and should be changeable, but sometimes there is an unidentified, underlying grievance that cannot be reconciled. If that is the case, he should be replaced….and soon.
4. Elevate those in Category 1. This is no time to cut back the benefits, perks, salary or freedom of those who are keeping the "ball rolling." At this stage, in this economy, do everything to encourage their continued loyalty and input into the success of the company. And you do that by being loyal to them. If it is fiscally possible, even a raise of some description would speak volumes.
The overwhelming majority of the decision makers we have been in contact with in the recent weeks have this prevailing attitude in common: They do not just want to survive, but they want to thrive. One company president said to us, "I want you to find for me a top, top 'A' player for the position of..." fill in the blank. "I am looking to replace the mediocre employee with a star."
We have seen an unusual influx of candidates in the last few months who would not normally be in the market for a career move. Many of them are "on the street" through no fault of their own, either a casualty of consolidation and buyout, downsizing, or company closings. For whatever reason, the time to pick up some of these all-star team members has never been better. The long-term benefit will be a stronger, more competitive industry as a whole, with higher quality companies thriving and growing once again.
Sid Stansell has a degree in Economics from the University of Georgia. He speaks at leadership seminars and conferences nationwide and internationally. He is the managing partner in an industry specific recruiting firm called ConcreteCareers.com, which has been placing middle- and high-level personnel exclusively for the concrete and construction fields since 1976. The company has achieved a strong reputation of treating clients and candidates with utmost integrity. Concrete Careers takes the adversarial role of personnel searches out of the equation by being an advocate for both sides, creating a truly win-win environment.