What Does Topgrading Mean for Your B+ Players?
. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, is an outspoken proponent of topgrading principles. His success with driving GE to become a “talent generating machine” has sparked tremendous interest in topgrading. We have found that many companies struggle with initiating their own topgrading campaign due to the varying nuances of topgrading principles.
As a general concept, topgrading is intuitive, but the finer points of topgrading can leave management with feelings of discomfort and confusion. One of these core scenarios is what happens when your B+ players are consistently on the line. If you have read “Topgrading,” the process is described as a black and white, but when dealing with people there are always shades of gray.
- Give them a fair, but brief, chance to become an A-player. Offer them extensive training and coaching, decrease their pay until performance improves, restructure their jobs so the B/C’s can perform like A’s, or redeploy them internally to a position where they will become an A-player. If after 6 months you cannot see an improvement in performance, you must choose the more difficult course of action.
- Force your B or C to resign. This is not necessarily “firing” your employee, but forcing them to resign in exchange for a severance agreement. This allows the employee to save face and dignity, and gives them the option to say, “I resigned” or “The decision was mutual,” in the future. Smart also encourages helping these average performers to find external placement.
- How can you replace a B-player that is essential to your company’s culture?
- What about employees who received coaching/training and are at the absolute brink of becoming an A-performer, but just can’t make it beyond B+ performance?
- Can B+ players be healthy for your company in different roles?
- Is there a guarantee that you can replace all of your B+ players with A-talent, especially in a highly competitive market for talent?
- Should lifestyle companies approach topgrading differently than aggressive growth companies?
Michael Brown is CEO & Founder of Affirma, an award-winning Business, Technology, Creative & Staffing consultancy specializing in Mobile, Cloud, Business Intelligence, SharePoint, Custom Development & Visual Design. Learn more about Affirma at https://www.affirmaconsulting.com or visit our blog.
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