“We can’t afford new staff right now” How often have you heard that in a market downturn? As a manager you look at your staff and wonder how you are ever going to meet your team targets without extra staff.
Increasingly managers are being asked to do more with less. In the good times, good staff could not be found, in the lean times the company could not afford to hire them…or can they?
In the good times, due to the low pool of skilled workers, in many circumstances employers were forced to hire the “best of a bad bunch” – and at relatively high wages.
In lean times it is the best time to cull the low performers from your ranks and hire a better performer from a larger pool. In doing so you will find several things:
• By letting low performers go – your team’s production actually increases in the short term
• You can pick up a more skilled employer at a LOWER salary.
Does this sound too good to be true? Let me explain.
A low performing staff member does not just suppress their area – they also bring into the workplace a culture of complacency. In addition to this your time that could be better spent on expansion and risk management gets chewed up managing the low performer.
In a lean time, employees want security more than they want money -especially as the Xmas holidays draw near. Each year contractors in November get extremely nervous as they know that if they don’t secure a contract in December with the holiday season it becomes harder to secure a contract in January in a lean time. You may not be able to push through pay cuts – but you can hire new staff on a lower salary.
My suggestion is simple – hire the top 20% of performers that you can find in the market place at a salary lower or the same as your team – and once you are happy that they are a high producer – immediately cull the bottom 20% of your performers.
Ruthless? Maybe – but not if you want a culture of continual improvement and to protect the employment of the rest of your team. As a manager it is ultimately your responsibility to manage this. If you do it well then your career is safe-pointed. If you don’t do it you just might find that suddenly your boss is looking at you as the bottom 20%!
Contact our office on (03) 9573 1500 for a confidential discussion on the availability of skills in the current market and their going rates.