Sunday, September 13, 2009

Having the Right People Working for You in These Times

In Jim Collins' best-selling book, Good to Great, he states that "people are not your most important asset, the right people are." Stories abound in today's media about the abundance of talent and experience caught up in organizational job eliminations and corporate downsizing. There are thousands of top recommended executives, managers and line employees with accomplished track records available to make meaningful contributions and add value to company and/organization management teams yet hiring managers because of cost cutting or other reasons in this environment are unwilling to give these motivated individuals a chance. At the same time, one reads story after story or hears internal accounts about individuals in the public or private sectors who in some way have abused their management or team member positions with repeated incompetent workplace behavior invoking poor morale by forcing other dedicated team members to work harder to compensate for their (weaker) employee shortcomings. Is this fair to existing hard-working employees or to the existing talent pool of unemployed executives and managers who are extremely motivated to return to the workplace? I think not. Why not use these unprecedented economic times to reevaluate internal employee performance levels and purge existing staffs of weak or "tired" employees and replace them with proven talent from the ranks of today's unemployed? Granted there may be some circumstances due to contractual obligations where this may not be possible. But in study after study, chief executives cite "hiring and retaining quality staff" as their number one challenge. From a sound business perspective as well as achieving the ongoing goal of maintaining a healthy and productive work environment, why not employ this staff re-engineering strategy today? Notably, most companies and organizations already operate under "at will" personnel hiring policies. Chief executives need to employ the very best available personnel for the sake of their career paths. It is not the time to be weak, subjective or overly charitable. Strong leaders should and need to make these kinds of decisions on behalf of their companies or organizations.

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