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December 10, 2012

So Much Wasted Time

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

A recent survey of CFO’s conducted by Robert Half International indicated that, on average, supervisors spend 17% of their time overseeing poorly performing employees.  This statistic sparked my interest, so I researched the survey further.  It turns out that not only do the poor performers waste supervisors’ time, but more than 1/3 of employees say they affect the morale of their team (in a negative way obviously).

The chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, Max Messmer, was quoted stating that “underperforming employees also require significant attention from employers, distracting managers from business-critical initiatives and causing other team members to pick up the slack.”

If you do the math, that leaves a balance of 83% of time for supervisors.  It would be nice to think that the remaining time is spent managing high performers, but in reality I’m afraid that probably isn’t the case.  That 83% of remaining time is most likely gobbled up by day-to-day operations, meetings, conference calls, and working on projects.

In contrast, I would like to see a survey asking “How much time do you spend managing high performers?”  I’m afraid the percentage may come in less than the 17% indicated for poor performers.  You may argue that high performers don’t require as much time to manage, but just think what would happen if an equal percentage of time was spent devoted to high performers.  Just as the poor performers affect the morale of the team, the morale of the team could be affected in a positive way if the attention was on high performers.  The end result could be a tremendous motivation for the high performers.

Obviously, we can’t let the poor performers continue down a destructive path.  Maybe it all started with a bad hire or perhaps they just aren’t a good fit for the job.  Those situations still need to be addressed.  However, I challenge each of us to focus at least the same percentage of our time and attention on those we consider to be high performers, and continue to strengthen our organization through those individuals.


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