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Addressing The Bottom 10%

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HR: Human Resources

Addressing The Bottom 10%

If you’ve made rules and procedures in your company my bet is that their formation has been prompted by bad behaviour…

The rules and regulations in place would seem targeted to ‘bad’ behaviour that was coming from a small proportion of outliers in the company – who’re probably no more than 10 – 20% of the staff.

Hence the ‘bottom 10%’.

It would seem important to address this behaviour in such a way, because who would want to corrupt the rest of the company with the behaviour of this 10 – 20%?

So it would somehow seem to be a natural thing to do to try and put in some kind of control system to address such behaviour that doesn’t conform to what we’d like our organisation to be.

However…there is double the danger in formulating rules and procedures in this way.

What would most likely happen is that you don’t change the behaviour of the people you’re addressing with the rule… and you frustrate the people who don’t really need it.

You might find that the same rules and regulations put in place to control ‘bad’ behaviour impedes the top performers from fulfilling their fullest potential – and soon, frustrated at what they experience, they leave.

So how do you fix this?

The answer may surprise you – and it is to get rid of some of them.

Get rid of those that hamper the ability of your people to take responsibility for their actions, and keep the ones that protect everyone – your people and yourself included.

In other words, rely on the existing human resource laws, but be flexible enough with your team in how they manage themselves, with a focus on results.

Instead of trying to stick to rules and regulations that don’t really help your organisation keep up with the competition and environmental changes, consider that today’s world is vastly different from before.

Changes in technology and work mobility mean that people can be easily replaced – but it also means that the same people can get jobs working anywhere. And the resulting effect to you is that the cost of training new people in your hurry to ensure conformity can outweigh the value of keeping your best people happy.

You have employees who need to work from home? Then consider it, if it is clear that allowing them to do will give them the same results if they were to work at the office in front of you. In fact, it may surprise you to know that the sense of appreciation from employees allowed to do so has been proven to result in increased quality performance by those who earn this as a perk from their job.

This is just one example – there are plenty more where these come from. Engage your employees in a healthy discussion. You may pleasantly find that working with them on ideas for mutual development will result in a stronger, better company for you.


Originally from the UK, Ian has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for nineteen years. The last eight of those have been spent coaching and mentoring over sixty executives and business owners. Ian's specialist area is helping executives in mid-market growth firms improve their strategy and revenues, retain their key team members, improve execution and build cash.

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