By Sarah LaFon
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

It’s inevitable that as a BV practice leader you are going to run up against the challenge of: The-Employee-Who-Just-Isn’t-Good-Enough. You’ve hired somebody who looked great on paper, came across as friendly and knowledgeable in interviews, and showed interest in joining your team. But now, reality tells a different story: their work is suffering and they are not bringing in the desired results. The tough decision lies ahead. Work things out, or let them go?

First, let’s take a look at four main groups of employees and how they affect your practice.

MULTIPLIERS: These are the best employees, the ones that make you feel like you hit the jackpot. Multipliers are exponential growers who foster productivity and energize the work environment. Everyone benefits from a multiplier, as they inspire the people around them to do even better work and to grow the practice.

ADDERS: These are very good employees who might be described as “workhorses”. They consistently do quality work – sometimes even exceeding expectations. Adders may not be as dynamic as multipliers, but they bring value to the table and can be trusted to do their best.

SUBTRACTORS: These employees may not do significant harm, but they take more than they contribute to the practice. A subtractor is worth less than he costs and simply isn’t “giving back” enough substance of value to the team.

DIVIDERS: These employees are the worst headache for a BV leader. A divider will bring the whole team or even practice down with a destructive attitude. Dividers are often guilty of gossiping, manipulating, and fostering conflict among the team. They will do the bare minimum required to earn a paycheck, and will cost your company in both profits and morale.

So, what to do with your less-than-stellar employee? Well, if he is a divider, there is no option but to fire him immediately. A divider has already demonstrated that he will bring the company down, and there is no other option than cutting your losses and moving on.

A subtractor is a more difficult quandary. Is this an employee who has decent character, good temperament, is trying hard, but just isn’t doing her best work? Remember that almost all employees start out as subtractors, until they get their feet under them. Sometimes the problem may be an issue of fitting the person to the project, rather than a lack of work ethic.

If you perceive that this employee has good intentions, consider mentoring him. Perhaps pair him up with a meticulous peer who can lead by example. Try a different project assignment, or switch to a different direct supervisor. Enable some outside professional development. Send a message that the employee is valued and that great things are expected. A subtractor who is given a chance to be well-mentored can be turned into an adder, or even a multiplier given the right circumstances.

Perhaps the best benefit will be that a well-mentored employee will often turn into your most loyal employee, providing your BV practice with years of beneficial performance.

Sarah Lafon
Sarah LaFon