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mediocrity

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by roentgen, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. roentgen

    roentgen Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    9
    OK, you titans of industry how do you get people to rise above the miminally acceptable level of performance. Mediocrity. Increasing pay doesn't help. Increasing benifits doesn't help. Beating doesn't help.

    I have about 20 technical people I need to watch over and I am constantly pulling my hair out for the quality they try to pass off. Very few actually strive for any level of excellence, try to learn anything, increase their level of performance. They love to surf the net or use the phone for personal calls and sit around and complain about how bad their job or work envirnmont is. But not try to improve things.

    I'm convinced it is a character trait, possibility genetic. Where were their parents when they were growing up and doing poorly at their work around the house. Maybe their parents are the same way.

    I work in a technical medical field with supposedly trained, licensed techs. But I am convinced that if I could find people that were excellers (is that a word) by some psychological test I would be better off to train people off the street easier than deal with what I have to work with.

    Help.
     
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  3. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jul 30, 2001
    22,080
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Jim E
    Isn't management grand? I have 20 people reporting to me and face the same issues every day. My solution is to weed out the low performers, hire in the motivated ones. I'm down to 2 low performers and am managing them both, out if needed. I've hired 4 people in the last 3 months and 3 of them are kicking ass. My 'average' performers are now more productive than most of the top people on other teams.

    You're right, it's all about the mindset of the person.
     
  4. 4sfed4

    4sfed4 Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    231
    Jeeeze...I guess the disease of my work ethic is getting around.....The affliction has now spread as far west as Texas!
     
  5. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

    Nov 26, 2001
    1,952
    Orange Park, Florida
    Full Name:
    Eric Eiland
    I feel your pain!! And I've increasingly become more of a firm believer of the old adage "if you want something done right, do it yourself". More often than not, I feel like we're running a daycare center rather than a business offering professional services to a professional clientele.

    With recent improvements, made possible by evolving technology, the newer equipment and software is and will make it much easier to get the same amount of work / output done to current standards (or better) with far fewer employees....which equates to less overhead, aggravation, and smoother work flow (streamlining or eliminating problems with clients).

    Have know idea what the solution is. Higher wage doesn't work, perks get abused, and they still don't care about the quality of their work. Training goes in one ear and out the other -- every Monday you have to push the reset button on their heads. All they care about is getting that 40 hours in, vacation pay, paid holidays, end of year bonus, etc. In return, they feel no loyalty or responsibility to the employer whatsover. They don't seem to understand that it is a two-way street so to speak. Trying to fire an employee is like pulling teeth, and then they file for unemployment which is a hassle in itself.

    Sounds a lot like a bunch of children, doesn't it? :)
     
  6. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
    BANNED

    Aug 3, 2002
    40,647
    California
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    i go out of my a majority of the time; i've worked hours i never put in, i've put my own money into the office at times and i've sacrificed other things, all for the sake of the business... Often, i'm put off though, but not by lack of appreciation, rather by the attitude i'm given... Some days i have no desire to work because i'm too busy drowning in an overflowing pool of bullsh_t... A little kindness goes a long way, i can say that... However, don't counteract your own kindness with some ridiculous, nonsensical, petty, cry-baby, take-it-out-on-me, stupid bullsh_t 'cause that really fux up my day...

    Example: Insurance carrier pulls big F-U move and drops several major hospitals from network. Emergency fax/notification needs to go out to EVERY CLIENT under said carrier (300 or so clients). Mass-merge boss-drawn letter, print it along with personal fax cover sheet for every said client. Upon completion, go home to shower and change clothes at 5:30AM the next morning so i can come back to the office for the start of the new day.
    Payroll day: "You weren't here until 5AM doing all those faxes...!!!"

    Yeah, i'm real gung-ho about hanging out here for 20 hours the next time the sh_t hits the fan, thanks.
     
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  8. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,004
    I worked in a place one time that seemed to have this problem under control. The engineering facility was located in a rural area, there were no other 'similar' jobs around. The bottom 10% were routinely layed off each year, and everybody knew this and had good motivation to avoid being cast in the bottom 10%. Likewise, the top 10% were 'granted' twice as much vacation as required in the standard HR policies, and the bulk of raises (40% of the money went to the to 10%).

    So there was incentive not to be in the lower 10%--layed off
    There was incentive to be in the top 10%--spare vacation more money

    But I think the real incentive was that if you did get layed off, you also had to move (long distance) from the rural town pulling up all your roots and things.
     
  9. vvvmd

    vvvmd F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Dec 23, 2003
    3,750
    close to the Hub
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    Victor Villarreal
    I am a surgeon in a rural hospital. I have recently been written up by a nurse because I was critical ofthe the fact that she puts her makeup on while she drives. This is a nurse that I cringe at when I walk into an OR and find out she is the nurse in the room. She is what I would call a poor performer. Very disorganised never ready for the cases and constantly leaving the romm during surgery to get equiptment that she forgot to get before the surgery started. She sent a two page single spaced typed latter saying that my comments about her driving constituted harasement and demanded an investigation. Mind you my comments were made in common area during lunch. Well the investigation is complete and the results are predictable. The people that have a work ethic say there is no prolblem. The poor performers that are never ready, forget how to set up equiptment, don't follow whats going on during surgery say the working invironment in the OR is hostile. I guess expecting people to know what they are doing and be productive at work is hostile. By the way the hospital administrator said he has to support the nurse because she could file a suit.
     
  10. Dom

    Dom F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Nov 5, 2002
    7,811
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    Dom V.
    This is part of the problem. It's not really a two way street. You can work years for a company, then just get laid off. The company really doesn't give a crap about you. I think that's what most people think.

    I've only got 3 people reporting to me now, so I don't have much of a problem. I try to treat them well, and with Respect. I find that respect is something most people don't get, and once they are given some, they tend to do a better job.

    Just my 2 lira.

    Dom
     
  11. davem

    davem F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 21, 2002
    6,051
    Stepford, Connecticut
    Full Name:
    dave m
    Bad employee's are like a cancer. They spread thier attitude to everyone they can. Let them go an quick, if they don't improve.
    Tie bonuses to performance that is easily measurable an share this to everyone.

    One problem i had was with attendance. Keep in mind i deal with unskilled labor in the restaurant biz. Always a few good workers who just show up 4 out of 5 days scheduled. Paid them $100 a month if they did not miss a day or come in late. Guess what they all went from the worst to the best in being on time overnite.
     
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  13. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
    BANNED

    Aug 3, 2002
    40,647
    California
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    Being on time is my worst problem... However, i'm always willing to stay late; hours, if need be... i usually waltz in around 9:30, although, i've been a lot closer to 9, lately (9:05, 9:10, 9:15)... i don't think it's a big deal, especially since someone else is here to get the phone (at least on Tuesdays & Thursdays)...
     
  14. mondial85

    mondial85 Karting

    Sep 9, 2003
    168
    Indianapolis
    Full Name:
    Casey Slattery
    Just some insight on how other countries do business: I have a cousin that started working for a Japanese company. He had worked there about a month before they announced that they were downsizeing and would be laying off 5 people (there were about 15 people in the department). Naturally, he thought that becasue he was the last to be hired, he would be the first to be fired, right? No, a week later they let the 5 people with the lowest efficiency rating go. Apparetly in Japan how good of an employee you are is more important than seniority. Not a bad idea.
     
  15. M.James

    M.James F1 Rookie

    Jun 6, 2003
    2,720
    Worcester, MA
    Full Name:
    Michael.C.James
    What a bunch of Candy-Ass whiners.....when American industry actually shows loyalty and support for the workers they hire, then your workers will respond in-kind.

    Today's business mentality clearly demonstrates to the American Wage Earner that the only 'bottom line' Managers and Business owners care about isn't their workers, its their company stock price. Not everyone works at Yahoo, where even the secretary gets huge stock options as part of their compensation package. Most everyone in America just gets to take home a paycheck. Few people today actually have any loyalty to their company - their company has absolutely no loyalty to them.

    Business has relegated their work force to a pure liability status. Wanna cut costs to boost stock prices? Fire 20% of your staff. Who cares about unemployment? Our stock price rose .25%! People are expendable! Workers are just a business commodity, bought and sold to India if it suits me! They don't matter, so long as I, the business owner, am making gobs of money!
     
  16. formula1joe

    formula1joe Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    436
    Atlanta, GA
    Full Name:
    Joe Bennett
    Since it sounds like everyone is venting about their work place, I want in. My office not only hires incompetent labor, but those are the ones we promote to management. All the hard working, 60 hour a week employees who do a bulk of the work, close the deals, and create new ones along with satisfying the customers who were p*ssed off from the incompetent labor are held down. The reason I found out was solely quote, "Why would I promote somebody who could replace me?!" That is good for the company!

    So I ask this, how does one get to the higher ups to let them know what is actually going on down in the trenches without sounding like a rat?
     
  17. Robin

    Robin F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,893
    Arlington, VA
    Dang you guys just described my last job. Had 20 employees.. most of whom were exactly as described. All they want is a paycheck, and want to do as little as possible to get it. They'll tell you how hard they're working and how stressful their job is, but I knew the real story. I wouldn't mind this type of employee so much if it wasn't for the fact that these are usually the ones who always try to pull stuff on you... "ooow I hurt my back lifting my laptop out of my car, I want worker's comp" (yes I had someone try to pull that one on me) or "man I've been working an extra hour every day this week... I need a raise or some kind of bonus" (if I had a dime for every time I heard that...)

    It actually gets me riled up to think about this, because I think it's pretty much the accepted work ethic these days. Not sure about being genetic, but highly likely a memelogical in nature (think I just made a new word off of Dawkins' "meme") I think I was definitely too nice as a manager before.. next time around I'm going to be M.James' worst nightmare :D

    -R
     
  18. 4sfed4

    4sfed4 Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    231
    I couldnt agree more. As someone who works for a very large company (Fortune 10),where I am quite happy BTW, it is quite obvious where ones place is in the overall scheme of things.
     
  19. 4sfed4

    4sfed4 Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    231
    And now....even the Indians are getting too expensive!
     
  20. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Aug 8, 2002
    6,507
    Full Name:
    Fred
    There's an expression......."everyone is promoted to their level of incompetence". This thread just proves it!!

    Initially, I was going to respond with a smart-a*s remark like 'this thread describes me perfectly' as a joke, but now, after reading the posts I want to respond more seriously:

    My impressions:
    1) most working people feel like no matter how hard they work, they will never get 'x'. Feeling helpless makes them not care. X could be a dollar amount, promotion, appreciation for their work, loyalty by the company, etc...

    2) it must be understood that there are people with internal drive and those without. If they were really that motivated and internally driven, they would be the leader of their own company, not necessarily working for yours.

    3) mediocraty is accepted. It is proven by your posting which acknowledges that your still employing mediocraty.

    4) the fact that you are their boss usually implies that you should be smarter, work harder, etc... that's why you're the boss. In some instances, bosses are afraid of hiring people who may perform too well and lead to their own job insecurity.

    5) people are resistant to change. despite being unhappy working somewhere, they stay. Unhappy workers are unmotivated workers.

    It is up to you, as the boss, to motivate and help those that seek more, get more. It's also up to you, as the boss, to fire those that aren't performing.
     
  21. Tyler

    Tyler F1 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2001
    4,274
    dusty old farm town
    Full Name:
    Tyler

    Donning my flame suit......

    Well, I guess I don't have a problem with this. If you choose to be an employee then you get what you get. When you choose to put your future in someone elses hands then it becomes incumbant for you to be constantly evaluating your skills so that you will always be necessary. The reality is that most workers are expendable, they allow themselves to become so by not changing with the times.

    Sounds like an incredibly stressful way to live to me.

    Stock prices, yeah they're important to me as an investor. I don't really care if 500 guys get canned as long as it makes things more efficient. Think employees are a commodity now, wait twenty years when distance and language barriers will be even less of an obstacle. If you choose to do something not incredibly specialized, like assembly line work, then you will have many more competitors willing to work for much less than today.

    My industry is a little different. Managing sales people is much more like managing several small businesses. You can spot the winners easily and close the losers down. In sales, there is no place to hide, you either produce the numbers or you're gone.
     
  22. Tyler

    Tyler F1 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2001
    4,274
    dusty old farm town
    Full Name:
    Tyler

    The Peter Principle, great book!
     
  23. 4sfed4

    4sfed4 Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    231
    See how many sales people you have left to manage when there are no consumers left.
     
  24. roentgen

    roentgen Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    9
    My post was for the way employees treat their employer. I know many employers treat their employees badly. But I think our place is to give an honest days work for an honest wage. If you don't like your work, change. Nobody puts a gun to your head and says you have to work for a particular employer (the bank may have other ideas).

    I went to school so I could get a good job and be a productive, useful member of society. If you don't like your job go to school so you can change. If I don't like a job, I change. I have done several careers in my life. Where else but in America can that be done, very few other countries.

    I just irratates me how people expect a handout and a big salary without paying their dues. But going to school is a long term goal that people just don't want to deal with, instant gratification only thankyou.
    Those I work with complain about my salary, they could get the same with about 50000 years of schooling, thats what it felt like but now I have a job that is great. Now if I could only deal with the lazy attitude of my charges.

    Where is the thrill of learning, working out a problem for oneself. Where has the idea gone about taking responsibility for ones actions, it's always someone elses fault. When I talk to one of my charges it's never "OK let me try that" it's always someone else caused this problem or "I can't do it that way". That may be true but why can't it just be "OK" why always an excuse.
     
  25. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

    Aug 20, 2001
    2,684
    East Coast
    Full Name:
    Jon K.
    I am self employed and have no other employees so my experience is limited but when getting my MBA it seemed that standard management practice had it backwards.

    The thinking was that you hired qualified people and then worked on motivating them.

    My opinion is that you hire motivated people and then work on helping them get qualified.

    In other words if I were in management I would be focusing on training people to do their job much more so then spending time trying to motivate my employees.

    I know this sounds like a very oversimplification but it's has some truth in it.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
  26. Dom

    Dom F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Nov 5, 2002
    7,811
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    Dom V.
    Good point. I should also point out that motivation sometimes works against you- I had a really motivated person reporting to me. She was one of the best performers in my group. She was a technician, and in my industry, if you want to get ahead you need to get a Ph.D. I told her that, and encouraged her to do it, because I felt she was more than capable. Well, she left the company to attend graduate school full time- so I had to find a replacement for her, which was difficult, because she was so good. I think she made a good move for herself, and I encouraged it, but at the same time, her gain meant my loss.

    Isn't that a dilbert principle thing- the really good people will eventually leave, and you are stuck with the crappy ones...

    Dom
     
  27. Tyler

    Tyler F1 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2001
    4,274
    dusty old farm town
    Full Name:
    Tyler

    LOL, not gonna happen. The beauty of surgical equipment sales is that I don't sell to the consumer, I sell to the guys(surgeons) who install the stuff. Doesn't really matter what the price is, you either buy my stuff or my competitors(oh wait, I sell my competitors lines as well) LOL, like I said, you either buy my stuff or your quality of life becomes very unpleasant.

    Jon, I agree with you, the best people are found and trained, taught to be big producers and self-sufficient. Give people a clear path to financial stability and satisfaction from their work and help them achieve it.
     

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