Naming and shaming laggards is easy. But difficult part is proper identification, as shaming an employee for wrong reasons may antagonise the entire group.
Therefore, identification of laggards involves careful and intelligent monitoring of performance in terms of quantity and quality. Once identified, they should be given counselling to assess reasons for non-performance. Sometimes they may require hand holding or retraining. Give them enough time and opportunity. Incorrigible ones should be dealt with mercilessly by naming and shaming.
Public censure of laggard employees and subjecting them to blatant shame is not justified. After all, impressive progress has been made in behavioural sciences, affording numerous means and methods to tap the potential in employees and workers for the greater benefit of any organisation or institution.
Excellent studies have been made in theories of motivation and types of incentives which, in fact, are already implemented successfully, at least in advanced countries.
Besides, 'public shaming' will not be in sync with modern trends. 'Public naming' for achievements may be acceptable, but not 'public shaming.'
Shaming an employee in the corporate world can never work wonders. Unless laggard employees are not dealt with humanely, things don’t work. Timely warning on performance, counselling, support and training is the only solution to improve employee productivity.
Naming and shaming can work for a product as it changes the image and perception for customers.. When it comes to the employee, who is the most important asset for a company, even punishment has to be dealt out in a very pragmatic manner. Healthy peer pressure, in the form of healthy competition and motivation, always works. Exposing the laggard employees in front of high productivity employees will make them further weak.
Whether naming and shaming will work for an organisation depends on the organisation, its culture, its behaviour modification/motivation strategies and the employees being targeted.
Given the complexity of human behaviour, some may respond to it and some might not but whether it would lead to higher productivity is debatable. The employee may instead get disengaged and demotivated. This may manifest itself in different forms of negative attitude towards work which are far more difficult to diagnose and address and more detrimental to organisational health than low productivity.
Creating an ‘ odd man out’ situation by publicly naming laggards is humiliating for the persons named, and may prove highly counterproductive. According to the theories based on Transactional Analysis, positive strokes are proven motivators, whereas naming a laggard is a negative notion, which is not desirable.
However, naming the achievers can create a competitive feeling amongst the performers, which can positively impact the performance of the group as whole. This technique has been employed by some of the reputed corporate with miraculous results. Hence, rather than naming and shaming laggard employees, change them with the help of time tested motivators.
S. P. Singh
To answer the question , one has to first see in what corporate environment the employee is working in. If the work culture is one of constructive criticism, all-round feedback and has no place for egos, then it can work.
The presentation is important. Constructive feedback, that the ongoing status of assigned tasks is not up to the mark and asking the employee to discuss with the management to improve the same is welcome.
One can argue that to bring laggards out of their comfort zone, you need to shake them up from time to time. A better way is by displaying performance and potential rewards together, so that peer pressure becomes positive.
In the corporate arena, naming laggard employees showcases the lacunae of the leader in handling the workforce. If the leader is unable to get the best out of laggard employees, the leader is to be blamed and not the employees.
Identification of non-performers and suitable corrective measures should be undertaken before publicly naming such employees.