The High Cost of Low Performers

Sally Lanyon, Consultant

Sally Lanyon, Consultant

Sometimes it is easier to play ostrich and hide from tough situations like low performers. It takes effort to coach them to bring up their performance to acceptable standards. It takes even more effort to document and counsel them out the door.

However, there is a high cost to keeping low performers on your payroll. Their productivity is lower. Other workers have to take up the slack. These higher performers can accommodate the poor performer to an extent. Then resentment and fatigue set in and morale often declines.

Generally, the quality produced by low performers is lower: errors occur, rework ensues, deadlines are missed, and customer satisfaction plummets.

Case Example:

Take the instance of the hourly worker who was inconsistent in following procedures and pushed the limit of the attendance policy. The supervisor carefully documented the behaviors and held the appropriate employee counseling sessions. When the supervisor recommended termination, his manager refused to follow through. The manager was being rewarded for maintaining low turnover and did not want to jeopardize her bonus. 

The supervisor was left with a staff that was disgruntled because they were doing the low performer’s work. Further, the low performer was getting shifts that the higher performers were requesting.  As a result, several of the high performers left the company to get more hours elsewhere. The manager did not make the turnover metric, and in addition, wound up losing her best workers instead of her worst ones.

Can your company afford to keep its low performers? Do you have a strategy to encourage and support high performers to even greater heights while working with low performers to move them up or out?

A solid foundation includes:

  • Having a performance management system in place
  • Providing training and tools for all levels of leadership
  • Aligning your rewards and recognition program to support the desired behaviors and results

Strategy1 specializes in supporting clients to develop and implement strategic HR systems so that your people perform better.  Contact me today to learn more about how we can help.

As you read through this article, what scenario or challenge facing your company did you have in mind? I would love to discuss this with you at your convenience.