I want to share a turnaround tip with you, one that applies to one of your largest costs—labor: Rate your people. There is a near farmer’s market on employee evaluations out there. Many are good, while others are only good for those who snooker you into buying their service.
When I say rate your people, I am talking about a simple method of assessing your labor force and using that method to save money. Here’s how it works.
Take the leader/manager in each area of your company. (If your company is very small you can do this by yourself. Adjust this method to your company size.) Put down a list of the employees and give them a 1 to 5 rating.
1. Superstar: Performs well above expectation in her role. One of the reasons for the company’s success. Would not want to lose this person.
2. Star: Above average performer, but not quite a superstar—perhaps due to lack of experience or some idiosyncrasy.
3. Solid: Good employee, worth his pay. Performs at an acceptable level.
4. Marginal: Erratic performer, maybe a bit of a troublemaker. Can and does do well, but not consistently. Could live without him.
5. Problem: Regularly performs below expectation; company would be better without him.
The rating system is as simple as that, and I will all but promise you that you and your best managers will agree on the thumping majority of the ratings.
Right here you start strategizing. You want to move any five out, and probably most of your fours as well. These people are not making you money and they are dragging your good people down. If you can let them go, do it.
“But what about Harry?” you ask. “He’s no more than a four, but we can’t replace him.”
Here is where you get creative. You have three options. One is to leave it as is, and you don’t want to do that. The second is to start looking for a replacement who is better. The market is glutted with people looking for work. The third, however, is my first choice. I want to look at my ones and twos to see if any of them could help our company more in what is now Harry’s spot, even if it takes some additional training. Maybe you have a one or two who is ambitious and wants to move up. Or you might think about expanding the role of an underused one or two, pay them a bit more, and move Harry out. You get the idea.
Remember, you want to make your company stronger and more profitable. Never lose sight of that as you move the pieces on the chessboard. You also want to keep skill sets in mind as you move people. For example, you might want to move someone from customer service into sales. That rarely works simply because they involve different skill sets. If you anticipate a risk like that, feel free to contact me and we can test them.
In the last analysis, you get stronger with more good people and fewer weaker ones. Jim Collins beat that to death in his book “From Good to Great”. I would rather train a superstar in a new skill than hang on to someone who is working just enough to get a check. That superstar will likely succeed at anything remotely within his skill set simply because of his personal character and work attitude.
Full speed ahead!
If you have any problem, contact Dr. David Claerbaut. He has spent more than 25 years consulting in the graphic arts industry. He may be able to consult with you—solving your problems affordably. You can reach him directly at 702-354-7000 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at MyPRINTResource.com/10746916.