The Clarity Award Goes To …

This month’s Clarity Award is a shared honor. Janice Mazzalo of PeoplesBank and Tom Moran of Financial Partners are the winners based on their clear messages involving two sides of a common problem. Both were part of a panel discuss on workplace culture and a question was raised about dealing with personnel problems. Janice pointed out that zero tolerance policies are an abdication of responsibility by those who ought to be able to use judgment and ensure any punishment fits the crime and employees get reasonable assistance to help them succeed. On the flip side, Tom made it clear that no one has a constitutional right to work in any company. Together, they framed a difficult problem.

Employees deserve:

  • Clear expectations regarding goals and behaviors,
  • Regular feedback and support so they know where they stand and have a shot at success, and
  • Compassion.

They also deserve supervisors with the confidence and courage to tell them they aren’t fitting in and should look elsewhere. You benefit no one by keeping someone in a position where he or she isn’t succeeding. You also commit a grievous injustice to those tolerating or making up for the short-comings of the under-performer.

When you think about it, a simple cost/benefit analysis applies nicely to difficult personnel decisions:

  • Is the employee’s net contribution clearly positive or do you have reason to believe it will be very soon?
  • In other words, does this person create significantly more benefit than cost?
  • Cost includes hand-holding, training, undesirable precedents, patience, salary, distractions, anger, frustration, bad examples, damage control, and more.

So, do not create rules to replace judgement and if an employee is more trouble than he is worth, let him go!

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