Forget Jack Welch’s Theory, Fire These People Instead

Jack Welch was the former head of General Electric and saw the company through a tremendous period of growth.  I read his autobiography a number of years ago, and one of the things that he put in place was a system where the bottom 10-20% of employees were let go every year.  Even if the company was in a growth mode, he felt that having the people who were performing the least were not suited for their jobs.

It sounds pretty harsh, and sounds like a good way to keep the HR department busy, if nothing else.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that there should be some sort of process that could be applied to any company to make sure that the best people are kept and the worst people aren’t.

Instead of using some of the standard metrics or evaluation criteria that I’m sure many companies would use, I think that companies should instead focus on personality traits or habits.

Simply put, people that do the following things should be given their boxes and shown the door:

  1. The person who doesn’t re-fill the coffee pot.  There’s one in every office, the person who takes the last cup of coffee in the coffee pot and since no one is looking, sneaks away without making a new pot.  If they leave a trace bit in the pot, figuring this ‘technicality’ gets them off the hook, then double shame on them.
  2. The person who’s constantly late for meetings yet insists on getting brought up to speed. This one will likely weed out some at the manager or director level.  You know the type.  They stroll in fifteen minutes late to a meeting that’s already gotten started, but wants to know everything that’s been done, effectively re-starting the meeting and wasting everybody’s time in the process.
  3. The person who wears too much cologne or perfume.  If your scent can be detected ten feet away or more, it’s time for you to go.
  4. The person who doesn’t flush.  I wouldn’t want to be the person who gathers the evidence here, but walking into the bathroom and finding an unflushed toilet is disgusting and whoever does it should be flushed right out the door.

What other worker types should be given the old heave-ho?