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March 2017 HRMonthly 33
“Your good people
start to question
look at you to
see if you will do
The ‘Killing Bambi’ Life Cycle
It is interesting to note what happens if a 2%er
does not get managed.
The first phase of the ‘Killing Bambi’ life
cycle starts with your good people starting to
question your management capability. They
look at you to see if you will do anything. They
want you to do something. They start talking
among themselves. Your management approach
starts being questioned and commented on.
Downtime from work starts to increase as they
discuss you, not just the 2%er.
The second phase is the frustration phase.
Their frustration becomes more tangible and
permeates through the work environment. The
frustration of one person feeds the frustration
of another. More talking and downtime occurs.
The emotional build-up can cause distractions
in their work. Sometimes workplace accidents
can occu r because of these distractions.
The third phase is where they become
resigned; resigned to the fact that you are
not going to do anything about the 2%er.
You are considered a poor manager. The
talking is reduced but views are confirmed.
Disengagement starts to happen. What once
was a great place to work may no longer be
viewed that way.
More downtime occu rs as these good
employees start to look for another job. The top
reason consistently shown in su rveys about why
employees leave a job is that they leave because
of their manager. So your good employees want
to leave because of you.
Guess what? They are a good employee, so
generally they won’t find it difficult to find
another job. Maybe in a tight labour market it
take some time, but they will find another job.
You have just lost one of your good
employees. You have just ‘killed Bambi’. What
hasn’t changed is that you still have you r 2%er,
who is causing a problem and making life
miserable for everything else.
This will be become cyclic if the 2%er is not
I have had discussions with a number of
managers over the years and asked them why
they don’t quickly deal with their 2%ers.
Some of them tell me that they think the
2%er will eventually resign. Some say that
it is too much hard work. Alternatively,
some tell me that it takes too much of their
attention to deal with them and they just
don’t have the time.
Well, in response to the first reason
– a ss uming the 2%er will resign – my
experience tells me that it rarely happens.
Why? Because the 2%er can get away with
doing whatever they a re doing in your
business. In some ways, they feel like they
are in charge. It makes them feel good.
Why would they leave a job where they are
comfortable and can get away with things?
In the second case, trying to avoid the
hard work is a false economy. The time spent
with these high-maintenance employees over
time is far more than the amount of time
required to quickly fix the problem. Sure, some
concentrated effort is required and paperwork
will need to be attended to off and on, but from
then on the pressure eases.
The time you could have spent on fixing
you r problem by dealing with the 2%er is now
replaced by having to train a new employee.
Why? Because one or more of your ‘Bambis’
have now been ‘killed’ and you have a period
of lower productivity because the new
employee will take longer to reach the levels of
productivity of your previous “Bambis’.
Of course, you also have to consider the
cost of recruiting a new employee, which is
estimated to be between six months’ and two
years’ salary or wage, depending on the type of
role. This estimation is based on both the hard
costs of recruiting – that is, the cost to advertise,
pay a recruiter and so on – and the soft costs,
which include training for the job and loss
of productivity compared to an experienced
So the lesson that this article and my
experience have taught me was that if your
2%ers aren’t quickly dealt with, you are at risk
of losing your good employees; your ‘Bambis’. I
think I would probably prefer to lose my 2%er.
Wouldn’t you? •••
This excer pt comes from the book T he 2%
Effect by Di Ar mbrust, in collaboration with
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17/02/2017 4:47 PM
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