Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dumping Bad Employees...Internally

You know the scenario...

"John" has bounced around from department to department.  He's a nice enough person, but never really fits in with the team.  Once his true limits become obvious he quickly transfers to a new area.  His Managers are always so thankful that he's leaving that they never get around to updating the new Manager that John is a problem.

Why Does This Happen?
I'm not new to HR.  I'm also not new to large organizations that have many departments where employees can hide under the radar.  What still bothers me however, is that leaders allow this type of scenario to occur over and over again. Why? 

What could possibly be the reason that leaders hide behind a transfer form and an easy out?

Okay, I said it.  Leaders are afraid. They're busy, under a lot of pressure to perform, and quite honestly don't want to be bothered with "HR" issues if they don't have to. So they look the other way and approve the internal transfer.  In doing so, they are also dumping on their colleagues.  This is worse than a poor hire from the outside though, because the organization is still stuck with the low performer and the employee is not being held accountable.   Let's face it, you are not going to improve if you're never held accountable, right?  Aren't we supposed to support employees, particularly the ones that may have potential but are struggling at the moment?

Another Opportunity for HR
Since we know many (not all) Managers would rather pass along a problem employee than hold them accountable, it's up to HR to provide the leadership that the department leader can not or will not provide.  This intervention will not only stop this constant shuffling, but will also help the employee.  How?  Perhaps for the first time, they will get some honest feedback about their performance, and what it will take for them to be successful. Don't we want our employees to be successful?

How About You
Do you love to feel like you're in Vegas and can shuffle the deck of poor performers? Do you feel a sense of relief when your weakest employee submits a transfer form? Are you able to look the other Manager in the eye when they realize what you've done?  Or, do you actually work with your struggling employees to help them, and your organization to excel?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of Its How We Roll and Inperta


  1. As far as I know, chances of an average employee who is a friend of the boss or knows some one way up in the hierarchy is always much higher then some one, who is a top performer in the group(usually some one who is focussed only on work and family, and spends most of their time in the office cube).

    But the top performers do want to be promoted(as they are adding value), when that does not happen, they move on.
    Just because some one is transferring very often may or may not indicate poor performance (value added to project), it usually means, they are not happy with what they received/were treated.

    It is tru that managers usually/at least sometimes feel jealous towards an employee who can excel (are much more gifted/know better than manager in some skill or other). I think it is just human nature.

    But when an employee befriends a manager (with monetory gains in their mind) and praises them and tags along with them (socializing), majority of managers feel very proud and their ego will be boosted. They end up rewarding them much more than someone who has done much more work.

    You see people who really love their work, are usualy focussed on it.

  2. Anonymous - Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have had some personal experiences on this topic that have "touched a chord." I'm not sure that I agree with the concept that leaders are jealous of their subject matter expert staff though. Quite honestly, that is why those team members are on board -> they need to provide detailed expertise while the leader drives a strategic agenda for the organization.

    Thanks for your participation!

  3. Companies should be able to tell whether or not an employee will be a good addition to their team. I know it's hard to look for a candidate, but companies should never settle for less than they deserve to avoid issues with the work load and quality. At any rate, thank you for your quick insights about the matter, Jay! All the best to you!

    Betty Rose @ Phenix Investigations