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“Our company is great because we have great employees!”Most CEOs say that’s the secret to their business’ success.
What’s more interesting is how these companies continue to have only great employees working for them. It’s not because they don’t hire any duds; It’s because they fire everyone who’s anything less than awesome.
If, after extensive training, an employee’s quality of work is equal to a six out of 10, the best companies will probably let them go.
“If you want to run a great company…you occasionally have to fire people,” writes Jay Goltz of The New York Times. “You’ve probably already parted company with the people who rate worse than a six — but it’s the sixes who can be tricky. They’re not that bad, but they’re just not good.”
Who qualifies as a “six?” According to Goltz, these employees seem capable but they make too many mistakes. They waste time and bring their personal life into the office.
But the true test is for managers to ask themselves, how vital is this particular employee to the company? If the worker is expendable, then there’s the answer.
Many sixes manage to cling on to their jobs despite their mediocre contributions. Their work isn’t terrible, so many managers have trouble justifying the decision to show them the door, especially when firing someone is such an unpleasant task. Goltz argues that mediocre work is plenty of reason to fire someone. “If it’s your business, you not only have the right [to fire a six], you have the responsibility.”
“Some sixes might become nines in a different job,” he says, “And I can tell you from personal experience, business is much easier when the right people are doing things right.”
We’ve even contemplated firing all of our average employees here at Business Insider. Read Henry Blodget’s internal battle with the decision.
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