Was the employee dead when you hired him, or did you kill him?

I often hear managers complain about their employees relative to such issues as productivity, poor attitude, not paying attention to details, failure to anticipate issues, etc.

Whenever a manager goes through this narrative regarding a specific employee, I like to have some fun with the manager by saying, “Was the employee dead when you hired him, or did you kill him?”

HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: Before you begin complaining about what employees do or don’t do, analyze your own role and the organization’s role in the issue.

Generally, 1 of 3 things happen regarding employee performance:

  1. The organization has a hiring process that fails to adequately vet a candidate for a position.
  2. The organizational and/or departmental culture (written and unwritten policies and practices, manager interpersonal skills, etc.) operates in a manner that tends to suck the “life-blood” out of an otherwise good employee and generally “kills” a new employee within 6 months.
  3. The employee truly changed as a result of personal issues unrelated to employment.

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