Reader Question on Poor Performers
Here is another reader question I received this week:
I was wondering how you deal with removing people from the company who resist change while maintaining the culture where people are not afraid to be laid off due to improvements. Aren't there some sceptics who see the anchor draggers get fired and think it's due to improvements, and how do you deal with this?
That's a great question. I think, often times, people know who the “anchor draggers” are anyway and can see the difference between mass firings and performance-based firings. It's tough, from an HR standpoint, as you can't necessarily tell the rest of the employees “we fired so-and-so because of their bad performance,” but people usually can tell. While we don't want to use efficiency improvements, via Lean, to drive headcount reduction, morale can often be improved by getting rid of a person who is dragging down the rest of the team. The employees might thank you for “finally” taking action that they wish had been taken long ago.
Before resorting to firing, I think we do have an obligation, as leaders, to coach people to the best of our ability. The main question often becomes “is that person worth the time investment that may or may not pay off?”
How have you, the Lean Blog readers, dealt with this situation in your environment?