I am an engineer; to me, the whole world consists of 0 or 1. But when it comes to employees, I use three types: A, B, and C.
It takes a lot of time to learn how to handle employees. I am far from being a good people manager, my emotional intelligence is not my strongest asset, but at least I’m trying. And I learned something during last 6 years as a partner at Kontra.
These are your stars, people who push your company forward. They are confident, they don’t make mistakes and generally, they are very easy to manage. But still, you should not ignore them and not pay attention: they still need a manager to be there when they have a question. Do whatever it takes to keep them with you because if you don’t give them much (great salary and most of all, good career options and challenging projects) they will leave soon.
These are bad employees, people who drag your company back. They are not to the problem at all. You easily discovery them and fire them. They know why they’re being fired (or they leave) and they’re not surprised when that happens.
These are the biggest problem for your company. They don’t drag company back but they don’t push it forward, either. They’re nice people who are good at work, they come on time, behave really good to others… But they make mistake every once in a while. They miss the deadline every once in a while. They don’t learn new things unless you instruct them. You have to double-check their work all the time because of you lose confidence in them. Clients don’t trust them anymore and call you if there is something that needs to be done.
But still, you can’t easily fire them.
Our biggest mistake so far with people management was we kept these employees to stick around for a long time. We couldn’t fire them. They’ve been nice. We thought they will change. But they won’t. Buy keeping them for too long we lost so much precious time and our company didn’t move forward a lot. When we learned this, we decided to fire those people like Type C employees. It is difficult, I know. It is not perfect, I know. But it needs to be done. There are some considerations:
- Maybe they have a potential to become Type A employee in another company. Leave them and let them discover their full potential.
- Maybe a position within your company was not a right fit for them and try whatever you can to figure that out before firing them.
- They will not be (in most cases) happy with your decision; they will not understand why you’re firing them. They might complain and say bad things about you to others (we’ve had that situation as well). When firing them, be honest with them and offer your help.
- Type A employees will support you with this, because they will see the problems with them, too.
This whole process won’t be easy for you, too. You have to fire a person who has been nice to you all the time. But if you want to move forward, you have to do it.