Fellow Managers: Who is a more valuble employee to you?

A bright employee that is somewhat lazy and doesn’t seem to care about a whole lot at times. They get their work done fairly quickly and accurately but does little else the rest of the time… the kind of person that does only “what is required” and thats about it. However, their work gets done, usually well and relatively quickly and accurately. They posess some decent thinking on your feet ability.


An employee of somewhat “average” intelligence that is sort of slow, but works the whole time and gets their work done eventually. **However, he/she makes more errors than the first one and just isn’t changing their habbits to make less errors. **(whether they are even able to change their work habbit is in question). However, they will not think much or going above and beyond if requested. May actually do it on their own the they think of it. More so than employee #1 would. However, doesn’t have the best problem solving/thinking on your feet ability… which is sometimes quite important.

Both people have roughly equal personalities… friendly, outgoing, nice all around. Roughly the same seniority and training.

Who would you choose to lay off if necessary and why?

bernse, I’d let employee #2 go. I’d rather have an employee with motivation issues than a lack of skill. For Employee #1, this job enrichment/enlargement. I just went through something similar to what you described, BTW.

Good luck!

If number 2 does not improve their errors even though you’ve pointed them out repeatedly, then let them go.

As for number 1, assign him or her more to do. If they can handle that, give them more responsibility.

oh christ… I am just like the #1 and I can just imagine my boss making similar comments about my being laid back ! Just tired hearing the same thing about me being inteligent and all… I basically just wanna live a normal life instead of worrying about work all day long.

Being lazy is one of the rewards of being smart…If they do what you tell them to, great. If you need more from them, tell them. Don’t give somebody more to do just because you think that would “motivate” them.

#2 gets the ax. I don’t mind if people make mistakes, but making the same mistake over and over again is unacceptable.

I agree, I’d stay with Employee 1 (who resembles myself when I’m bored with a job) and make some changes to their job description while providing motivation (the kind you can spend or enjoy, not just verbal praise) to go beyond the job description.

Be very clear about your expectations- I know in my case, I get lazy when I can cover every aspect of my job easily- I’m quick on my feet and can accomplish multiple tasks at once. My guess is Employee 1 would be receptive to more responsibility- especially if it requires they use some of that intelligence and are allowed to be in charge of programs inspired by their own ideas.
Nothing kills motivation like boredom.

Yeah, keep employee #1 and begin to saddle him/her with more to do. Better to force the issue there than lives with a mediocre talent.

Boy, do I agree with that! As an Employee #1 type, I can also say that the idea of monetary or time-off rewards always sat better with me than verbal praise. I like being told I did a good job on something, but a Christmas bonus is always nice, too.

I’d keep #1, because it is more important to get the job done than delve into the mind of one’s employees.

However, remember that you are asking Dopers- who are a group of smart people who are likely surfing messege boards instead of working. Of course we’re going to identify with #1 =)

Well, there are really three employee qualities here:
a) Smarts (which #1 has and #2 lacks)
b) Go-beyond-the-call-of-duty-ness (which #1 lacks and #2 has)
c) Competance (which #1 has and #2 lacks)

In my estimation, these are ordered in importance: #c, #b, #a.

Employee #2 doesn’t make the cut. Frankly, competance is just mandatory for employment. Only after that cut is made, should one differentiate betweenv#b and #a, where #b is better in my estimation.

Kinda depends on the job doesn’t it? Not all jobs are inherently interesting, and there is just about NO WAY to spruce up a trained monkey position. Adding tasks for a bored employee may not solve anything if they’re just more monkey tasks.

Also depends on the company. If your company pays less than average for the region Employee#1 might be providing only what s/he is paid for.

If however, you do have a bored employee who would enjoy more tasks who you could PAY more to do those tasks, and those tasks have some sort of satisfaction level, then by all means Keep #1.

Otherwise, Keep #2, s/he’ll probably appreciate having the job more.

I work with Employee #1 types better myself (as a manager).

If however, you do have a bored employee who would enjoy more tasks who you could PAY more to do those tasks, and those tasks have some sort of satisfaction level, then by all means Keep #1.

Why pay a guy more when he’s sitting around some of the time anyway? Sounds like he’s intelligent enough to do the work quickly and score himself some loafing time. I say, just give the guy some more challenging work and try to fill his time better. If he’s working for an hourly wage and you really have nothing else for him to do, let him go home when he’s finished.

I say, let #2 go. Someone who makes the same mistakes repeatedly is more of a liability, IMO.

Whoops, coding screw-up there:

White Ink said:

And my reply above was in reference to this. Sorry about that.

Definitely this one, this is the type of person that man my entire company (well, not MY company).

Our boss is of the opinion that “if your work is done and done well, what difference does it make”?

There are times we are busting our butts on projects to meet deadlines, and we do it and do it well.

There are other times that if we’re done, we’re lazy bums who sit around and BS.

The client still gets the premium deliverable, he doesn’t get shorted any quality, and we bill the price for the job.

From what I’ve seen of my industry and similar ones, this tends to be the thinking, that is “if the work is done, and done well, THAT’S what your getting paid for”. It seems to be part of doing business in this type of industry. No one seems to think less of someone for getting things done quickly and having some “gab time” leftover. In fact, sometimes “gab time/goof off time/think time” IS working. I get a lot of good info from these boards, as well as better ways to “write stuff”.

I mean, if you want 8 hours of “busywork” and what the military calls “eyewash”. Fine, but if what you’re paying for is the end product, and you get it, and get it done VERY well, what difference does it make if your very bright employee was able to do it in 4 hours (and then goofed off for 4) as opposed to 8 for the not very bright, but hardworking one?

The very bright one can always be given something else to do for those 4 hours if it’s crucial or necessary (now, if he/she balks at this, then THAT’S a problem), but the slow but steady one? You’re pretty much stuck with what they’re able to do.

Thanks for everyones input.

I just want to say that employee #2 is far, far from incompetent. Just that he/she will make more outright “errors” than #1.

Maybe you can deputize #1 to help #2 with whatever he’s having a hard time with. Something along the lines of “#2, I notice this isn’t quite clicking with you, however #1 seems to have a knack for it. #1, could you maybe share your system/offer some tips/run through some drills with #2 for a few days?” (Not really sure what the business is, so I don’t know if this is a realistic suggestion or not.) #1 gets a little more responsibility and #2 gets a bit more hands-on guidance and the chance to maybe improve his skills.

If one of them had to go though, I’d say #2 for all the reasons already stated. Someone who consistently gets something wrong creats the extra job of someone having to correct it.

By the way, I shoulda mentioned in my earlier comment:

I’d fire #2 now, and put an ad out for someone to replace #1. This is definitely a case of the lesser of two evils.

Another vote for #1, though that reflects the classic Wallyism – if you’re good at what you do and get your job done quickly and correctly, you’re rewarded with … more work. :frowning: