The Good thing about Firing People

Rural

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
29,751
While I have never worked in a "fire the bottom 10% culture" in my 17 years in the corporate world I would say more than 10% of the people I worked with were fired or let go and I did my share of this firing. In most cases these people were basically in the wrong job, they were not up to it and they were fired based on performance; another group were either lazy or dishonest; and another group just didn't seem to be able to fit into the 9-5, 39 hour week. It never ceased to amaze me how many people out there are incapable of work or clung to jobs they were not able to do. We tried to be as humane as we could with training and time but in some cases you knew from day 1 it wasn't going to work out. The interview process is seriously flawed at the best of times and most people embelish their abilities while references are not worth the paper they are written on.
I dunno, I would never give someone a good reference if they didn't deserve it, that would be a bad reflection on me. I always say to the people I teach that they should ask the permission of the person they want to include as a referee, which gives that person the chance to refuse (I have refused one or two).

When looking at a reference you look for words like - Punctual, hardworking, willing to learn new facets of work, prepared to stay back if an important job is to be completed, cheerful, had a good working relationship with co-workers and clients. If some of these are missing, ask why at the interview.
 


OCicero

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
752
My own experience is that "firing the bottom x%" rule results in a lot of negative outcomes.

Firstly, I have found that the system rewarded those people who were good at the distinct political skill of creating impossible-to-win work situations (particularly difficult customers, deadlines, under-resourced tasks, etc.) and intriguing to get others into them, thereby putting some targeted staff into the relegation zone and keeping themselves out of it.

More importantly, I found that it punished the hard workers who, given the sheer amount of work they got through, inevitably made a minor mistake which was jumped on by the less energetic majority and held up as highly public evidence of abject failure, the victim pushing the jumpers farther from the relegation zone. An effect of this was that it stifled both risk-taking and taking a lot of responsibility, and indeed hard work.

The most insidious aspect of it was that people focussed on the relegation zone and its politics rather than the work, because working hard and well was not always the way to keep out of the relegation zone, given the inevitable work-place sharks.

This is just my experience of working in this environment in a few companies. Others might have different experiences.

A good manager should make clear what standard is expected of their staff and help them achieve it. There is no formula that can replace a good person running things.
 

sparkey321

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
1,380
The way it works here is after 6 month probation there is a review.

The review takes the form of a standard document where 40 aspects are rated from 1 to 5 with loads of room for comments.

Employee fills out one copy and manager fills out one copy. The purpose is to compare where the employee thinks they are and the manger thinks they are. A big difference normally signifies there is a problem with communication.

A couple of days after the employee submits his form both they and the manager sit down review both copies and discuss what is going on.

It was explained to me that no review is entered into with the view to getting rid of someone. The review is to identify issues the decision to get rid of someone is based on how they respond to the issues raised. Both in the review and following the review.

From experience its a very open meeting, non confrontational with every single topic open for discussion and honest feedback is expected.

Any issues are discussed fully and an initial plan put in place to deal with them, a follow up is normally scheduled to review progress within a few months.

If someone responds positively then there is no problem and typically alot of effort is put into ensuring they get up to speed and are happy. if the response is temporary (ie they make an effort for a week or so and then back to old ways) or if they make no effort to change then it's bye bye. Some trusted more senior colleagues may be discreetly consulted before a final decision is made.

Annual review is pretty similar. pay increases and bonus's are awarded on merritt. Those who put in the extra effort get the extra reward. Allot of this is delegated to direct supervisors\ managers but an eye is kept on all reviews and feedback.

Seems to work (well I like it) and deadwood gets weeded out early.
 

ballot stuffer

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2007
Messages
1,504
what I've seen is not performance-related (in many cases). It's just a number: you have 20 people in your department and every six months you must select 3 of them for Death Row. Doesn't matter if all 20 are performing well, pick the weakest three. Obnoxious.
I'm aware of companies like this but I don't see any problem with as long as the employee is aware of it when they work there. Certain consultancy companies boast of their attrition rate. At the same time those that survive are well looked after.
 

asknoquestions

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
2,951
I'm aware of companies like this but I don't see any problem with as long as the employee is aware of it when they work there. Certain consultancy companies boast of their attrition rate. At the same time those that survive are well looked after.
investment banks (and probably some Irish banks) were a bit like that over the past few years and aside from Goldman Sachs it didn't do a lot of them a whole lot of good.
 

Fides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
4,425
I dunno, I would never give someone a good reference if they didn't deserve it, that would be a bad reflection on me. I always say to the people I teach that they should ask the permission of the person they want to include as a referee, which gives that person the chance to refuse (I have refused one or two).

When looking at a reference you look for words like - Punctual, hardworking, willing to learn new facets of work, prepared to stay back if an important job is to be completed, cheerful, had a good working relationship with co-workers and clients. If some of these are missing, ask why at the interview.
You sadly are in a minority and you're right you have to read between the lines but some employers will give a great reference if only to get rid of an awkward employee and they don't care how it reflects on them if they think about it at all.
 

Rural

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
29,751
You sadly are in a minority and you're right you have to read between the lines but some employers will give a great reference if only to get rid of an awkward employee and they don't care how it reflects on them if they think about it at all.
If one lives in a rural/small town area, one has to be honest or your name is mud. If I gave a good reference to a few "gentlemen" that I taught, my name would be mud right now. These people, well I wouldn't employ in a thousand years & I had to tell them this fact, yet most of the people I taught, were very employable.

Like the Tayto ad, "there's always one".
 

paulp

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
7,595
I dunno, I would never give someone a good reference if they didn't deserve it, that would be a bad reflection on me. I always say to the people I teach that they should ask the permission of the person they want to include as a referee, which gives that person the chance to refuse (I have refused one or two).

When looking at a reference you look for words like - Punctual, hardworking, willing to learn new facets of work, prepared to stay back if an important job is to be completed, cheerful, had a good working relationship with co-workers and clients. If some of these are missing, ask why at the interview.
In larger companies, go to hr and they'll write a rrference that looks fine, but hr in other companies will know not to hire
 

SideysGhost

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
17,360
The problem with any of these procedures has been mentioned a few times and is, of course, politics.

What if you have vindictive and unbalanced managers who play favourites, are crooked, or just plain nuts? What about the players who are brilliant at dodging all the hard work and responsibility, and equally good at somehow maneuvering their "rivals" into being lumbered with the no-win situations mentioned above? What about the people who work very hard and shovel their way though loads of work? We all know that everyone else in the company will just start sending all requests to the hard worker - because that way there's a chance it might get done - while their sloping-shoulders shirker colleagues plot and politick all day. What about the bullying and atmosphere of fear and intimidation this creates? I've worked in some horrible companies down the years.

It's the sly, the sneaky, the lazy, the political player, the ass-kisser, the social climber who schemes their way into management in far far too many companies, and then makes life hell for the employees directly under them while ensuring they kiss ass on the next rung up, take all the credit and dodge all the blame in the eyes of their supervisors, resulting in them always keeping their jobs or even being promoted. And all the while a small number of critical-but-unappreciated staff are actually doing all the work and trying to keep the company afloat in the middle of this sea of politicking and backstabbing and ladder-climbing - but getting no thanks for it and constantly running afoul of stupid schemes like in the OP.

And after a while, the number of chancers at management level steadily increases - they always promote their own kind, can't have somebody hardworking and competent at the same level as them, oh no, that runs the risk of being found out - drives out all sanity and the company tips over the Spoof Horizon and disappears up its own arse.

Seen it time and time again, always the same in Ireland.

The fundamental problem I think is that really we don't need a huge number of the jobs that exist. A small number of competent dedicated people will be huge orders of magnitude more productive than a few dedicated staff surrounded by a sea of morons getting in the way. But everybody has to have a job, right?

Well no, I don't actually agree. It's this 19th century mindset of tying your self-image and self-respect to your job, and if you don't have a job you are worthless, that is the problem. At least half the people employed in any office are sub-standard at best and downright dangerous at worst, constantly causing inefficiency, waste, crazy decisions, ill-feeling.....it would actually be cheaper for the company to pay them to sit at home all day well out of the way. I've seen one malignant political player absolutely poison an entire company into liquidation. I've seen others who were so stupid, so incapable of sane decisions, so incompetent and unstable that their mistakes and screwups and mad whims would cost many hundreds of thousands of euro in time, wages, resources, and lost opportunities yet because of their political skills emerge unscathed or even promoted.

No, the deadly mirage of full employment and this societal pressure for every numpty to have a job is actually wildly inefficient and leads to a massive waste of resources and massive stress on the bulk of the population one way or another.
 

Dan_Murphy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
3,748
It's the sly, the sneaky, the lazy, the political player, the ass-kisser, the social climber who schemes their way into management in far far too many companies, and then makes life hell for the employees directly under them while ensuring they kiss ass on the next rung up, take all the credit and dodge all the blame in the eyes of their supervisors, resulting in them always keeping their jobs or even being promoted. And all the while a small number of critical-but-unappreciated staff are actually doing all the work and trying to keep the company afloat in the middle of this sea of politicking and backstabbing and ladder-climbing - but getting no thanks for it and constantly running afoul of stupid schemes like in the OP.
Absolutely agreed.

I know that, amongst the team of people I used to work with it is the two that would be axed first that we depended on most. :(
 

OCicero

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
752
people enter the workforce with grossly unrealistic notions about work rates, attention levels and other behaviours required to hold down a job, particularly a responsible one. Some people shape up. Some don't.
thoughts?
If you're wasting time actively managing performance to an excessive degree, and firing people, you are not hiring suitable people and that is a problem with recruitment.

Probation is all very well, but relying on it as a part of the recruitment process, as opposed to a backup to catch the odd person who slips through a selection process and is plainly unsuitable, is a very expensive way to hire people because you have to recruit, pay salary and admin costs for six months: all heavy on time and money.
 

uriah

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
3,607
Employees with the threat of firing hanging over them do not perform well. You can only sack employees if they fall down in pre-agreed performance indicators. Firing the bottom performers every year is a crap way of running a business. Supposing there is no "deadwood"? Why do the bottom 20% get no bonus and not the bottom 30%. What you have described is a rubbish way to run a business.
..even an imaginary 'business'.

A company which 'fired 20% of its staff every year'?
Now with a staff of five....

I had imaginary friends when I was very small.
Imaginary employees over whom I had such power would be the (disturbed)
adult version, I suppose.
 

OCicero

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
752
The business model - killing off the "bottom" 20% whatever that means - is often not so much about managing performance but rather managing workforce demographic. For example: hire over-eager fresh-faced grads, work them like hell before they get to the age of, say work-competing life commitments and early cardio-vascular issues, and then cull to make way for the next graduate milk-round intake of over-eager neophytes.
 

Cato

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
20,390
The business model - killing off the "bottom" 20% whatever that means - is often not so much about managing performance but rather managing workforce demographic. For example: hire over-eager fresh-faced grads, work them like hell before they get to the age of, say work-competing life commitments and early cardio-vascular issues, and then cull to make way for the next graduate milk-round intake of over-eager neophytes.
The OP did not mention a policy of culling the bottom performing 20%. Where are you all getting this from?
 

Cato

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
20,390
Are you a mod?
No. I'm just asking a question. Several posters are attacking a proposition that no one has proposed. It's a little odd. That's all.
 

Right is right

Active member
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
262
If you're wasting time actively managing performance to an excessive degree, and firing people, you are not hiring suitable people and that is a problem with recruitment.

Probation is all very well, but relying on it as a part of the recruitment process, as opposed to a backup to catch the odd person who slips through a selection process and is plainly unsuitable, is a very expensive way to hire people because you have to recruit, pay salary and admin costs for six months: all heavy on time and money.
Well I've found that the biggest problem with the recruiting process is that the HR department decide that they have to be involved in the decision making process when they should be the last people involved usually as they haven't a clue what they are talking about when it comes to hiring especially if you need skilled staff.
 

bokuden

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
11,250
What I will say though is that it worked in terms of results and the employee satisfaction surveys always came back good. While the company was tough, very though, on performance it was generous on employee perks and we were very flexible and believed in supporting employees when they had personal problems.
Of course employees were satisfied. If they said they weren't satisfied, they'd be fired!

This sort of employment approach breaks up families, creates absentee parents, latchkey children, contributes to drug abuse and depression and generally ruins society.


Have a look at Japan where this sort of thing goes on. High rates of suicide, child abuse and divorce, low birth rate and a plummeting economy.

I hope you don't work for Barnardo's!
 

Cato

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
20,390
Of course employees were satisfied. If they said they weren't satisfied, they'd be fired!

This sort of employment approach breaks up families, creates absentee parents, latchkey children, contributes to drug abuse and depression and generally ruins society.


Have a look at Japan where this sort of thing goes on. High rates of suicide, child abuse and divorce, low birth rate and a plummeting economy.

I hope you don't work for Barnardo's!
I've already said that I'm only describing what happened, not approving of it. The culture, particularly as it developed, was on of the reasons for me leaving. Happily working for a charity now where the culture is very different and based on the idea of community, although a high standard of performance is still expected.

(PS The employee surveys were anonymous and conducted by a third party company.)
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top Bottom