What is the trial period for Infosys
Mindsquare is a young IT company with headquarters in Bielefeld. Since it was founded in 2007, the number of employees has grown to 85 - this year alone another 52 IT specialists are to be added. "It doesn't work without systematic employee planning," says HR manager Timm Funke, who is also a member of the management team. As a consulting company in the SAP environment, it depends on each individual, on their knowledge and commitment. So that Funke doesn't make mistakes in employee development, he brought in an expert who specializes in medium-sized businesses - the Swabian consultant Jörg Knoblauch. Together they worked out a nine-stage personnel model that, among other things, divides the employees into three categories - a model that has certainly already been used in other companies in a wide variety of forms.
According to Knoblauch, A employees are motivated, independent and committed. You look for the challenges, set yourself goals and also exceed them. B employees are the classic "nine to fiver" - and work solidly according to regulations. In Knoblauch's point of view, C employees are considered to be unreliable. Not only do they do little, sometimes they don't even want to. In a nutshell: Employee A pulls the cart, B walks with it and C sits on top, in the worst case he even brakes.
The Gallup study, which records the commitment of employees, comes to the conclusion that 15 percent of German employees are highly motivated, three fifths are B employees, and a quarter have quit internally. Particularly frightening: According to Gallup, this group has grown by nine percent in the previous twelve months. For Knoblauch, these employees can be a stumbling block for companies - not only because of their below-average performance, but because they infected other colleagues with their reluctance: "The A employees work for the C employees," the consultant points out. A-employees went along with this for a while, but at some point they were frustrated and left the company.
Some people keep the team together
It is in the employers' legitimate interest to get the most out of their employees, says Christine Rheinberger, but not everyone can do the same. According to their experience, the skills and motivation of the employees are distributed according to the Gaussian curve: many in the middle, some top people and some difficult employees. The practice is, however, more complex, according to the Berlin engineer, who accompanies small and medium-sized companies in strategic personnel development: "People are not machines that can be judged solely from economic aspects." Maybe some C employees are not that productive, but they keep the team together.
The question that Rheinberger asks is what criteria a company uses to measure employees. Ultimately, a company is also about its values and culture if, for example, weaker people are "taken along" out of solidarity. It is also correct that the employees are not solely responsible for their performance, the management or department heads have hired them and placed them in a specific position. Maybe there was a lack of further training, maybe people didn't have the right job. Precisely for this reason, managers must not look the other way out of fear of human conflicts and consequences under labor law, but have to deal intensively with their C employees.
Jörg Knoblauch demands this clarity and transparency from superiors: "Tell your employees where they stand, how you assess them and that they are at risk as C employees." Poor performance must first be named. In his own company, but also in consulting, he uses performance appraisal sheets in which the employees first assess their specialist knowledge, commitment, their pace and quality of work, their independence and their customer relationship. Different criteria then result in grades from one to six. The manager does the same. In this way, self-image and external image become the basis for an intensive discussion about the work results. For further dealings with one another, the most important thing is whether an employee cannot or does not want to. In the first case, the employee must be given a chance through training and support. In the second case, it means separation without further ado. For Knoblauch there is no question: C-employees deprive the company of strength and shatter the working atmosphere. Either they develop into at least B-employees, or they have to leave the company.
Attractive corporate culture
Martina Stauch wouldn't give up that quickly. Everyone has a passion, says the ex-Cisco manager, who now works as a coach. Perhaps you can find the "trigger point", such as appreciation or a specific challenge. But in the end she agrees: You can't carry employees out to hunt, they have to change on their own initiative. In any case, management should honestly ask itself how much energy it wants to invest in which employees. According to the Pareto principle, the 20 percent top performers account for 80 percent of the company's success. Accordingly, they should get a lot of attention.
Consultant Knoblauch sees yet another lever how executives can turn their employees into high performers: developing an attractive corporate culture with sufficient freedom. It is important to create open communication, to involve employees in decisions, to trust them, to praise them and to recognize their achievements. Trying out new ideas should be encouraged; Flexible working hours are part of it, profit and capital participation are necessary so that "followers become activists".
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