Hiring Wisdom: 10 Reasons Managers Accept Mediocre Employees

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Why do so many managers continue to accept mediocre, second-rate results?

Hundreds of research studies have quantified the difference between having an “A” player versus a “C” player in a job, any job. Every one of them concludes the difference in productivity and the impact on the bottom line is anywhere from 20 percent to over 1000 percent greater return when you compare the best, most productive employees to those who are average.

While I’ve never met anyone who disagrees with this data, most managers and organizations continue to keep “C” players on the payroll. This leads me to believe these managers:

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  1. Are focused on the employee, not the expected or required results.
  2. Do not face any consequence for hiring or retaining “C” players.
  3. Are rewarded for low turnover rather than for retaining the right people.
  4. Their employers say they want only “A” players, but they are not committed to hiring and retaining them.
  5. Don’t know what “A” players look like.
  6. Don’t know how to recruit “A” players because most of them are not looking for jobs.
  7. Don’t know how “A” players think and make decisions (which is vastly different than employees who are looking for “just a job, any job”).
  8. Use a screening process designed to screen people out rather than ensure the right people get in.
  9. Don’t provide “A” managers to supervise “A” employees.
  10. Have an HR department that is reactive instead of proactive in helping managers build ‘A”  teams. They are risk adverse when it comes to letting people go.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


8 Comments on “Hiring Wisdom: 10 Reasons Managers Accept Mediocre Employees

  1. There was a post, I think on here a while back that actually broke down the implication of stacked rankings and its impact on A players and one of the themes that emerged that some companies don’t want to hire them to begin with because they will “Leave in 2 years…..”

    go figure

  2. It could also be that it’s difficult to sack staff who have full employment rights on the basis of competence as the employer has to provide proof of poor performance through written appraisals as these may be used as evidence in court. Even the most effective managers dislike having to go down the capability or competence route when it comes to C staff.

  3. If the HR department is not proactive, the task of hiring employees or executives should be handed over to companies providing executive search services. They strictly search for a combination of skill, experience and cultural compatibility while hiring employees.

  4. Here’s what I think:

    – C Players do not give you problems and do exactly what you want.

    – A Players are generally scary in interviews (they sound that they’re after the manager’s job – and, in many cases, they are)
    – C Players generally integrate better with other team members.
    – C Players do not have attitude issues.

    Personally, I prefer to hire C Players rather than A Players for the attitude alone. The majority of A Players have an attitude issue that is prominent from the get-go.

    1. So you’d rather everyone gets along, then the company maximize it’s profit potential? I think you’ve just made yourself an example of the point of this article.

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