Types of Employees

I have worked for almost 19 years in IT Development. Out of this, 12 years is of building and managing engineering teams. I have come across 4 types of employees during my experience.

Here I explain the types, and discuss the ways for managers to work with them.

Not talented
These kinds rank low in the list, and do not seem to get the measure of anything. Some of them have got the right education, but perhaps not the right acumen. I remember, once an engineering qualified team member having hard time to even follow Linux CLI commands.

What to do
It may sound harsh, but Managers should get rid of them at first opportunity. You might actually do them a favor. I remember once firing an underperforming employee, telling me emotionally, “I know, you don't find me worth anything”. I, in an empathizing tone replied, “That's not correct. You are worthy, just not here”. A year later, I came to know he shifted to Singapore on a support assignment, and was doing well for past few months. He was better suited to a Support role, instead of development. I have always believed, “Problem is never with People, but their Situation / Disposition”.

Not talented, Contributing
These people are same as above, except that they go the extra mile to ensure they contribute. One can see them working long hours, asking questions, taking keen interest in discussions. Their contribution isn't immense, but they aren't a liability either.

What to do
This is really open to a Manager. If Manager is ready to invest time and patience, then he may end up making difference to someone’s life. Extent of both time and patience is specific to each student. However, a manager cannot be held responsible, if he so decides to not go this route. A manager is also an employee, and has to take care of his KRA. This is definitely difficult in a fast paced work environment. Organizations, on the other hand, should factor in some of Manager’s time for this. They will end up growing both.

Talented, Not contributing
This is a set which knows its stuff, but decides to either not contribute, or not contribute sufficient. There are essentially 2 kinds of employee here. One, disgruntled. Two, without motive / urge to do more.

What to do
Managers should work with these people to first understand their psyche and reasons for low output. If it is within the capacity of the manager to help them, it should be done. There is no point in either losing them, or have them stay at low output.

Talented, Contributing
This is easily the best set, and a Manager’s delight. They take initiative, are best at what they do, and good team people. Some may not have all the qualities, but they are an asset, nevertheless.

What to do
As humans, we evolve. Our motives, motivations, family and personal dispositions change. What kept them motivated today, may not keep them tomorrow. Managers should connect with these employees on personal level. A manager is as good as his team, and employees like these make huge difference.


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