Just recently I asked ten different line managers, in ten different businesses whether they were confident enough to rank the staff who worked for them, putting best at the top and worst at the bottom. The ranking should take account of effort, attitude and result. Nearly all of them set off with great gusto and within minutes had completed 90% of the task. I asked where the difficulty was and almost without exception I received the same answer. They knew who was at the top and who was at the bottom. The prevarication and debate was placing a few in the middle.

Glibly I suggested they were wasting their time and I explained this by advising them to forget about the middle and prepare plans to tackle the bottom. This prompted a somewhat negative response. Examples were “I can’t fire someone for a bit of attitude”; “We have never fired someone for lack of performance – the gaffer doesn’t want an Employment Tribunal”; “I’m too busy to sort out a few people who don’t perform”; “You have to take the rough with the smooth in this business”.

What have we got here? All the signs of bad management. If all management was good and effective, quality would be higher, costs would be lower, output would be greater and the organisation would be far more effective. So as the economy continues to present challenges and margins are sliced more thinly as organisations constantly strive to retain customers and market share, perhaps fortune would favour those that are prepared to concentrate on their ‘internal market’ with a view to upskilling managers who become more capable in managing and developing their staff with a view to achieve sharp and sustained improvements in competitiveness and performance.

Developing managers is a worthy investment with an almost certain payback. If you view it as a cost, you may not be around next year as you become swallowed up by the competition. HRGO Recruitment can provide organisations with not just competent staff at every level, so minimising investment costs but will provide low cost effective training for your existing team.

Dr Hugh Billot

Director, HR GO Recruitment.

HR GO Recruitment offers solutions to all your staffing needs, temporary and permanent, please call 0845 130 7000

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