Personnel Problems and the Tasmanian Tiger

Posted on by Nancy Slessenger This entry was posted in Grapevine, Improving Performance, Performance Management, Poor performance, Recruitment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


We went to Australia in March and while we were there, we went to visit the fabulous

Stalectites in Margaret River caves

Jewel Caves

Jewel Cave near Margaret River.


The tour guide was particularly well informed and skilled at making the whole visit extremely interesting and enjoyable.


It was during our slightly scary tour round a small portion of these enormous underground caverns that we learned about a Tasmanian Tiger who had met an untimely death in one part of the cave.

More of the beautiful Jewel Caves

More of the beautiful Jewel Caves


The skeleton of a very ancient specimen had been found there. It must have fallen in and been unable to escape in the pitch-blackness. What a horrible end.


After the tour I read some more of the information at the visitors’ site about the Tasmanian Tiger. I discovered how the very last one of these animals had died in Beaumaris Zoo in 1939. To my horror I learned that it died because of “personnel issues”. Due to these issues the poor animal had been left out in its cage in the freezing cold with no shelter.


The implication was that this last Tasmanian Tiger died because someone did not care properly for it. And that happened because of some “personnel issues”. This could have meant anything from poor performance to a really bad recruitment. There was no more information, but this example serves to underline the fact that a “personnel issue” generally has a far bigger impact than the “issue” itself.


The tragedy is that many managers don’t seem to realize this. They carry on, ignoring problems that are staring them in the face, perhaps hoping they will go away, rather than tackling them. Why do they do that?



They don’t know how to tackle personnel issues


I believe that one reason is that they don’t know what to do, or where to start. Sometimes it’s because they get no help of support from their own manager. This kind of weakness is inexcusable. It’s what the managers are paid for.


I recently heard of once case where an employee asked a trainer who ran workshops on bullying how to deal with the bullying he was currently being subjected to. With a shrug, the trainer told him to “roll with the punches”.



They don’t know how much it’s costing


Very frequently managers have no idea of the knock on costs of poor performance and personnel issues. I imagine that includes the managers above.


The managers are completely unaware that by not tackling a “personnel issue” they are costing their employer thousands. I’ve heard estimates that a bad hire, or poor performer can cost you up to 14 X their salary. I also know some people who could tell you it’s cost them more than that.



Check the costs


Personnel Issues invariably mean that someone, somewhere, is not performing as they need to be. So something is either not getting done or is being done to a standard below the standard that you require.


The costs are often hidden. They can be spread out across many areas, especially with issues like bullying. So if there is a bit of an issue, you really need to check how bad it is and do something about it before it gets really bad.


The poor Tasmanian Tiger is just one sad example of those costs. It was a victim of a problem that is all too common and a reminder that this kind of thing has probably been going on for as long as people have been employed by others.

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