Performance Management Is Simple: You Either Work Hard, or You Don’t

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Photo by istockphoto

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HR ladies secretly love to write performance improvement plans.

Let’s face it — performance problems are exciting. No matter how it ends, HR looks like it is making an impact on the company. And you get to use your lawyer voice!

(Why the hell did I earn my SPHR if I can’t play lawyer?)

If you are going to get involved in the performance management process, you need to have a governing philosophy. My beliefs are very simple:

  1. Embedded in every private employment relationship is the explicit requirement to show up and do your job. This is non-negotiable.
  2. In the absence of a job description, employees are still expected to show up and do a good job. Who the hell told you that you need a job description to do your job? If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do for a living, ask. You are not allowed to sit on the computer and await further instruction.
  3. No one is obligated to warn anybody about anything. Poor performance is poor performance. You are not paid to suck.

I know my philosophy is tough, but anyone who has worked with me (or for me) during the past 15 years knows that I go out of my way to recognize and reward exceptional work. And I am the first person to tell a manager to go to hell if he or she is abusing their power, mistreating an employee, or being racist, sexist, homophobic or stupid.

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I really tried to be a thoughtful and deliberate HR lady. I have taken my performance management philosophy into the world of agencies and entrepreneurialism. And I just think you either work hard or you don’t. And if you don’t work hard and contribute to the general well-being of an organization, it is time for you to go.

No drama. No tears. And no HR ladies or lawyers, please. Let’s all be adults, okay?

This originally appeared on Laurie Ruettimann’s The Cynical Girl blog.


Laurie Ruettimann (LFR) is a former Human Resources leader turned influential speaker, writer and strategist. She owns a human resources consultancy that offers a wide array of HR services to human resources leaders and executives. Check out her LinkedIn profile here. You may know Ruettimann as the creator of The Cynical Girl and Punk Rock HR (retired), which Forbes named as a top 100 website for women. You may have also read her book, I AM HR: 5 Strategic Ways to Break Stereotypes and Reclaim HR. (RepCap Press, 2014.) 


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