November 7, 2017

Do You Have a Boat Anchor in Your Company?

By Paul Bieber

If you have a boat stored in your back warehouse, you might. I am talking about the anchor you pay an hourly wage to and doesn’t do enough work to earn it. What are you waiting for? Cut that cord, now.

I have not met a company that doesn’t have a boat anchor in their organization. The person who has been here so long he is like the woodwork; or your cousin’s niece who can’t talk with a customer and remember what she said.

Are you in a position to spend $30,000 to $40,000 per year and not get a return on that money? I doubt it. So what do you do. Forget about all of the government rules. Do a termination correctly and you will be OK. Bring him into your office, give him an action plan to bring up his productivity. Set measurable goals to be achieved in two weeks, four weeks, and eight weeks. Give a two-minute weekly update on his success. At the end of this period, meet with him, giving a full status report. Has he improved? Great. If not, why not? If so, give a second warning, with a two or three week window, telling him that at the end of this period, if he has not met minimum standards he will be let go.

Offer as much help as possible. Ask another employee to tutor. Give access to your shop or office after regular hours, and pay your trainer and student at O/T if necessary.  If you can change a boat anchor into a productive employee you will be way far ahead of hiring a new person.  The company moral will improve, seeing that you worked hard to salvage an employee. Whatever job duties he or she has will improve. See if the person is in the right job for their skills. They may be a very good employee in a different area of your company. I have seen this often.

If there is no improvement, then you will cut the cord. Give a reasonable severance. Do you have a company policy on extending medical care? This can go from one month to six and not be wrong.  Just remember,  you set a precedent with a long medical time that may bite you in the future on your next termination.