Up in the Air

I saw “Up in the Air”, the new George Clooney flick, over the holidays.  I liked it. If you haven’t seen it, the movie is about an outsourced “headhunter” (an appropriate term for sure) who fires employees for companies that can’t bring themselves to do the “hard” work.  Sure, there are other important themes and messages, but it was the scenes where Clooney was doing the firings that got to me. I couldn’t help thinking about how many of these people had no clue what was coming. How many of these folks had been given any kind of regular and quality performance review? Worse, how many had been given positive performance reviews that gave them no indication of their deficiencies in executing their jobs? This happens all the time. I am sure a company that couldn’t handle eliminating employees probably couldn’t deliver the tough messages that come with communicating marginal or poor performance.  And those companies are likely to struggle in the marketplace. Businesses of any size must have some type of candid and objective performance review process. Such a process will engage your best employees to continue to perform at a high level, encourage others to better work or recognize that someone should move on in an appropriate and timely fashion. This type of candid feedback can only be good to building an aware and high performing workforce that delivers for their company. As seen in the movie and, as many managers know, this review activity is hard. But the hard work needs to be done for you, your company and, more importantly, the individual you are reviewing. Don’t leave your folks Up in the Air.

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