commentary: Non performers should shape up or shape out

One of the reasons why many students are motivated to perform in school is the penalties that await those who fail to do so.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

One of the reasons why many students are motivated to perform in school is the penalties that await those who fail to do so. In the days before universal primary education, schools would admit students and at the end of each year, those who failed to meet the set standards had either to repeat a class or be expelled.

Due to this set up, students often spent nights revising just to ensure they were safe to proceed to the next level. In many ways, companies and organisations ought to emulate the old schooling system.

There must be a system of evaluating and monitoring performance and guidelines on what happens when someone comes up short. Just like in a school, a company must have targets and measurable valuables to assess performance towards those targets.

If a child is expected to present a report card to the parent and even explain to the guardian why it is not pleasant, then why shouldn’t a company do the same regularly? In school, poor performers are often accorded more attention by the teachers in a bid to guide them towards better performance.

If you are running a company whose clear objective is to make profits, then you cannot afford to handle the non performers with kids’ gloves. If you do so then, you should not complain if the company is performing poorly in general.

It is important to identify the weak links in the staff and deal with them. By this, call the person and discuss with them to find out why they are not performing to their optimum abilities or company expectations. It could be a family problem that you can help solve in order to get the best out of your employee.

The employee must be made to understand that much as the company treasures his/her services, they have been found to be lacking and if nothing is done to reverse this, then someone willing to do a better job ought to be brought in as a replacement.

The challenge many companies in Rwanda face is hiring of unqualified staff who get jobs simply because they are related to someone important. This scenario creates a false sense of sense of untouchability where even when they are performing poorly.

But trust me; there is simply no way a company can survive if it chooses to pamper those who are clear liabilities to its set goals. These people need to either be trained to do a better job or simply castigated for doing a poor one and asked to pull up their socks or leave.

A manager who cannot look at an employee and tell him/her to do a better job should not blame the same person when they later realise that the company is making loses.

If several employees are lacking in terms of skills, then it cis better to organise training workshops to bring up the expected level of performance.

If all this is impossible, then a manager can as well start writing the epitaph for his/her company.

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