Recruitment Tool: who deserves our time? 5th March 2018

A rule of thumb is that we spend about 80% of our time on 20% of our results and 20% of our time on 80% of our results. It is never quite that accurate but, unless we take action, it is often painfully reflective the true situation.

You can apply it to almost any area of your business (and your personal life) and you will be surprised by how often the rule rings true.

Which means that 20% of your team is getting 80% of your results whilst the other 80% gets only 20% of the results.


It also means you spend 80% of your time on the 80% of your team (i.e. 20% of the results).

Why is that always the case? Every manager has had that employee who just drains them every day and creates problems without ever getting results. And every manager devotes a large part of their day to fixing that mess and trying to improve the employee.

Meanwhile the genuine stars are left to get on with it. 


This is a major problem in team building because the bad employees seldom improve and the good ones always leave.

The picture attached illustrates a simple management tool that is highly effective in helping us decide what actions to take with our employees.


On the vertical axis you chart the employee’s skills and on the horizontal axis you chart their skills and attitude (in relation to what the company requires).

You then get 4 categories of employee, which we will cover briefly.


Good skills with the right attitude and values:


Your stars. They get the job done and they do it in the right way.

Action: spend more time with them, praise them and promote them where possible


Poor skills but with the right attitude and values:


You probably like these team members, they do things in the right way and don’t cause problems with their attitude but their mistakes do.

Action: train and develop them. They have the potential to be your next stars so make sure an official development plan is carried out. Set a reasonable time limit on their development; this is only fair to both parties.  


Poor skills with the wrong attitude and values:


Why do we hire these people? Unfortunately we do! As well as making mistakes, these people refuse to admit to them and cause us untold problems in the process.

Action: give them an ultimatum; improve or leave.  Assuming their attitude and values do not become aligned, these are the people to quietly usher away from the company.  


Good skills with the wrong attitude and values:


The biggest problem category for managers. These people cause problems with their behaviour but they get results so they are allowed to get away with things that others are not.

They cause massive resentment in the team.  

Action: fire them publicly. Nothing is more important than your company culture and it needs to be protected. Publicly removing these people (i.e. so that everyone in the company knows they have gone and why) will re-inforce the culture and you will be amazed at the increased performance from everyone else after they have gone.


Ultimately we choose where we spend our time with our teams. The more time you can spend praising and boosting your best people the more likely they will stay and provide a good example to those people who do not yet have the skills to produce their results.

If you are currently spending 20% of your time with them, aim for 30% next week and go from there. The 80/20 law is very powerful and when applied to your team you can multiply your results very quickly.


Read more from our Recruitment 2.0 news series here.