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Do You Give Your "Bottom 10%" Employees the Boot?

Posted By Chris Chiappinelli, November 08, 2012 at 12:58 PM, in Category: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

The Manufacturing Leadership Council's Decision Compass working groups provide a lot of food for thought, which is lucky for me, since I'm a voracious eater. During a meeting of our Manufacturing IT group this past week, one VP at a high-tech manufacturer said his company continually moves out the bottom 10% of its performers. "Moves out" is the equivocating phrase I'll use in place of the more draconian "sacks."

This practice brings to mind Jack Welsh's HR methodology during his days running GE; i.e., group your employees as excellent (20% of your staff), good (70%), and poor (10%), and give that last group the boot. Sounds like a sensible way to produce a highly motivated group of employees. Also, a good way to inspire an employee culture rife with stress and in-fighting.

My question is whether this management practice can succeed in a workplace populated by the millennial generation. That is, how will a bare-knuckle meritocracy go over with young workers whose formative years were filled with constant, knee-jerk validation and more trophies than their dressers could hold?

Do you follow the 10% practice at your company? Do you wish you could? What effect does it have on employees?

Written by Chris Chiappinelli

Chris Chiappinelli is the online research manager for Manufacturing Leadership. He covers enterprise software, sustainability, economic trends, workforce issues, and emerging technologies.


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