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Performance Reviews Performance Management

Fire Starter vs. Firefighter: Avoiding Disaster in your Organization

July 22, 2014
4 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged

The majority of fires are started by accident, either because of someone being careless, not knowing what they’re doing or not containing it once it starts to spread. The same goes for those domino effect mistakes at work.

In this blog we talk a lot about proactive leadership and the tools that you need to make that possible. Here are several common workplace “fires” that we believe are totally preventable.

Fire Starter:

A good worker has been overlooked time and again for recognition or rewards for their good work. They have become disengaged and even bitter about their treatment at work. This can lead to poor office morale, decreased productivity and even turnover.


99.4% of employees expect to be recognized when they do good work. That’s a no brainer, but staying on top of that recognition is actually pretty tough from management’s perspective. Unless the employee walks around telling everyone about his or her professional successes, there isn’t a very efficient or timely way to recognize and reward effort at work.

With the right performance management system, employees are able to post status updates on their plans, goals and objectives. This makes it incredibly easy for management to identify and reward those wins for employees. Additionally, it gives leaders a chance to see when issues arise in real-time, and quickly act on getting their team back on track. 

Fire Starter:

You should have been hiring months ago for the positions that are now sitting vacant. Production is down, workers are being overtasked and management is still working with the same KPIs as if they had all hands on deck. 


In a recent post on the blog, we referred to the solution of this issue as, “Recruit to Where the Puck is Going to Be”. So many recruiters are busy reacting, that they don’t have time to be proactive with the organization’s talent needs.

Read more on in-context analytics here.

Talent forecasting allows recruiters to use the information that they already have at hand to predict the future needs of the organization. Industry leaders in talent forecasting, Bersin by Deloitte defines this as:

“A process during which organizations consider different variables that affect the future supply and demand for talent, such as strategic plans (e.g., expansion into new geographical regions or new product lines) and limitations on access to qualified talent (e.g., number of engineers graduating annually).”

Fire Starter:

It’s review time and a hopeful, hard-working employee walks into their review with their head held high. As it turns out, management believes they have been doing a subpar job for the last 6 months and the employee is given a poor review.

Fire Fighter:

This is just one of the many reasons that traditional employee reviews are quickly becoming antiquated. This worker had no idea that they weren’t performing up to standards. Did anyone know, until this review? Has this worker been unintentionally under performing for 6 months with no one tracking his work? Imagine the frustration and disappointment from this all too common workplace fire starter.

The new employee reviews involved self-assessment, peer reviews and a chance at a 2-way dialogue. Defining, tracking and celebrating goals are now a continuous process -one that is aimed at actual performance management

Today’s workplace is full of these potential disasters. No one usually sees them coming, and few know how to effectively handle or prevent them. The right tools can make a vital difference. Would you like to learn more about how you can prevent workplace fires? Get in touch today.

photo credit: Tc Morgan via photopin cc

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