It’s time for you to pay people to leave your organization. There, I said it.

Your organization is carrying around dead weight. Be honest with yourself. There are always going to be people that may be proficient at their work, but they will never really care about the goals or success of your company. Answer this, how many people in your organization would happily leave for an 10%-15% bump in pay somewhere else? I bet you even know a few that would leave for 5%!

There’s a name for people that are just in it for the money: Mercenaries

These soldiers of fortune can be found everywhere in the business world and it’s killing your company’s culture. Maybe it’s time to take the people that don’t want to be there and pay them to leave.

 

If you’ve ever seen the movie A Bronx Tale you most likely remember this scene:

Young 17 year old Calegro exits a bus on a corner stop. As he begins walking towards his gangster associates, he spots someone across the street.

“Louie!” Calegro yells. “Where’s my money!”

Louie starts babbling an excuse about his mother being sick and then runs off down the street,  avoiding an imminent confrontation.

Sonny approaches the young and impressionable teenager and begins walking with him down the street. He then gives Calegro some interesting advice that we could all take note of. Sonny visibly takes this kid under his wing and begins to impart some wisdom.

He asks him “Is he a good friend of yours?”

Calegro says “Nah, I don’t even like him, he just owes me 20 dollars.”

Sonny smirks and says “Well there’s your answer right there. Look at it this way, it cost you $20 to get rid of him. He’s never going to bother you again. He’s out of your life for 20 dollars and you got off cheap!”

 

How much would you pay to have deadbeat out of your life? How much hassle and time and energy would it save you to get rid of the rubbish that’s just in the way?

 

Here’s the real question to ask: If you could replace mediocre employees with effective team members what would the long term benefit be to your organization? If you could take all the people at your company that half-ass their job and send them walking; then you could start fresh and find people that are dedicated to put in those roles. How much more quickly would your company innovate and grow?

 

Well, Zappos is already doing that and it’s yielding phenomenal results. Right now Zappos offers new employees $2000 to leave after their first month. Why? Because they are committed to maintaining a very high level of dedication in their employees and they want to get rid of anyone that doesn’t fit their culture. They realized that there is much more lost by keeping lame employees on life support or PIP’s. They look at it as an opportunity cost. Why not get rid of the rubbish early and start fresh with someone that actually WANTS to be working there?

 

We’ve spent too long bending over backwards to retain employees that should never have been hired in the first place. If you truly want your organization to succeed, we need to start being more selective about who we allow to stay.

 

Harvard Business Review has often references a ‘Sunk Cost Analysis’ that allows you to take time investment out of decision making and it can easily be applied to employees. Think about a particular employee and ask yourself this questions: If they were interviewing for a job at my organization today and I had all the knowledge I do now, would I still want to hire them? If the answer is no then you need to seriously consider removing them from your organization.

 

It may seem harsh, but it’s often the best course of action for not only your organization, but also for the individual as well so they can begin pursuing something that is actually fulfilling to them.

 

Don’t allow complacent and mediocre employees to fill a chair where a rockstar could sit. Tolerance of lackluster performance is tantamount to endorsement.

 

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