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Blogs & Comment

‘Trim the useless, the redundant and the window dressing’

Phil Lynagh is regional  managing director at  Tag: MENA

“Why do companies often let the good people go, and keep the mediocre? Far too often in my career I have seen managers make staff cuts – completely mad decisions, because instead of looking at the real bottom line – i.e. the lowest number of quality resources you need to turn a reasonable profit – they see the ease in just getting rid of the highest numbers on the payroll. To me this is rather like sacking the captain of a cruise ship and putting a steward in charge. True, it will save you money when it comes to salaries and benefits, but it will cost you a shedload when that ship runs aground, kills a few paying clients and any hope of any future business sinks quicker than the Titanic.

I’ve always been a great believer that when that terrible day comes to downsize, and, unfortunately, those days do come far more frequently in recent years, the decisions should be clear.  Not easy, they never are, but very clear. Why? Well, because if the manager has been doing their job properly, they’ve employed based on talent and are completely aware who is less important to the agency and its clients. It’s not rocket science really; it’s quality control. Quality should demand to be paid the most, because they’re either revenue or idea generators or both.

If you lose the quality in your team you’re left with the mediocre scrabbling around in the residual power vacuum. Plus you’ll end up paying inflated salaries for new hires because nobody likes to work in the ‘hire and fire’ environment that you’ve just successfully created.

So when it comes down to trimming a little fat, do exactly that. Don’t trim the expensive if it’s quality, just trim the fat. Trim the useless, the redundant and the window dressing. Keep the lean meat, the protein, the useful bit. If your company has been well managed then the people taking the bigger pay should have earned it, which would suggest some greater level of indispensability. If that doesn’t quite equate, then  you should seriously consider firing yourself.”

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