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April 5, 2016
8 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged



Managers are regularly faced with tough decisions. Deciding when to let someone go isn’t easy, especially if all the options haven’t been weighed and today’s growing skills gap puts every decision a manager makes under the microscope. The need for qualified talent is growing, but the availability of the right candidates seems to be shrinking.

How are some of today’s HR professionals adapting their performance management process to accommodate this issue? One user posted this question on Quora, wondering the same thing:

“What is the best way to remove a bunch of B players in my team?”

Since we specialize in helping to hire and develop A-Players, we thought these answers were particularly on point.

These answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.



How do you eliminate B players on your team?

How to Manage Low Performers and Eliminate the B Players on Your Team

Change the situation

“...change it, by setting precise goals (for both individuals and groups) and providing clear feedback about the results and performance. As a result, your decisions won't be shocking for anyone - people will realize to what extent do they meet your requirements and what they have to do. There are other possible benefits: people can start helping each other to improve and you can gain valuable insights about other options (providing support, training, changing roles, re-formulating goals, modifying your management style, etc.) that may be actually better/cheaper than firing people.” 

-Arkadiusz Dymalski, Development Manager for DEA Konsulting


CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.pngInstead of firing B players on your team, take the more efficient route:


What Dymalski brings to light is the need for employee goal setting in the performance management process. 50% of today’s employees aren’t sure what is expected of them, making it very likely some B-Players just need a bit of guidance to get on the right track. Keep these tips in mind when setting employee performance goals:

  • Be involved in the goal-setting process
  • Make goals attainable
  • Discuss their future career often
  • Tie individual goals to organizational goals

Read: 10 Inspirational Quotes to Keep Performance Goals on Track

Take it slow

“My recommendation is that you "upgrade" the team one person at a time, beginning with the least skilled performer.  As others have mentioned above, clearly articulate the performance standard, and start managing towards that standard.  When opportunities for objective failure to meet the performance standard by the employee present themselves, document them (preferably with a formal performance improvement plan) and then, when the time is right, move forward with a compassionate termination.” 

-Gary Gansle, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs Law



"Upgrade" your team one person at a time, like this: 


Gansle suggests taking it slow if faced with managing low performers. Through a documented performance management process, managers can weed out the lowest performers when the time is right and if you’ve done your job right, they shouldn’t be completely shocked when it happens. According to Gallup, only 17% of workers strongly agree there is open communication throughout all levels of their company. Don’t let that be you!

  • Tip: Look into Talent Management Software that keeps all performance management correspondence safe in the cloud and readily accessible for employees to work towards goals.

Keep the big picture in mind

“You should always be working to help people improve, but once it becomes obvious that an individual or individuals are having a serious negative effect on a team it's generally time to part ways. If you can salvage a person by moving them to another role in the organization that's great, but don't deceive yourself about the likelihood of doing that to avoid making the hard choice.”

-Anthony Thomas is CEO and GM of Sticker Mule



 Anthony Thomas from Sticker Mule said always be working to help people improve... Read more:


Thomas offers tough love and points out avoiding making the hard choice to fire someone can negatively impact the rest of the team and, by extension, the business itself. As difficult as it is to remain detached from this kind of situation, managers must keep in mind the bigger picture and how a low-performing individual hinders organizational progress.

  • Tip: Having HR software with goal cascading keeps employee progress in perspective and aligns their goals with organizational goals for optimal performance. Bersin by Deloitte research has found organizations that make it easy for employees to set clear goals were four times more likely to score in the top 25% of business outcomes. If this sounds like something you could use, check out our Talent Management Software for assistance with managing low performers.

Download: How to Execute Organizational Goals Through Alignment

Don’t forget about the others

“...you need to ensure that the remaining team members are well managed. Ensure each member knows that they are valued and that although this will be an ongoing process of performance management, they have no reason to fear at their current level of performance.”

-Alan Murray is a Most Viewed Writer on Quora

Murray reminds us that performance management decisions affect the entire team, especially when a member’s employment is in question.

  • Tip: Try to increase one-on-one communication with each team member during tough times and especially when someone’s employment is in question. Reinforce positive behavior and performance so they know they have nothing to worry about.

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.pngHow does your company approach low-performers?


ClearCompany’s Talent Management Software is your all-in-one dashboard from sourcing to onboarding to performance metrics. Check out a demo today!


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