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What to Do with Replacement Players

Manager Focus: Re-evaluate!

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Replacement Players Hurt Production, Morale, Brand, and Your Reputation as a Leader

Replacement Players pose a real risk to your team and organization. Failure to appropriately address issues associated with Replacement Players can foster resentment, mixed messages and lack of accountability throughout your scope of influence and the entire organization.
Replacement doesn't always mean eliminate. It means re-evaluate. Sometimes it identifies if you have people miscast in the wrong role.
The action steps below will help you decide what to do with a Replacement Player.

Address Performance or Attitude Issues

  • Often times team members are unaware of their deficiencies
  • It takes an open, frank conversation to help the team member understand where they are falling short
  • It is crucial to focus on specific deficiencies in Performance, Attitude, or Maintenance  

Decide Where They Should Go

Determine Whether or Not This is a Person with Potential for Success in Another Role in your Organization:
  • Not every replacement player needs to be moved out of your organization
  • Sometimes a replacement player is merely a good team member who is cast in the wrong role
  • Other times an team member who scores as a replacement player is one that you see has the potential to grow into a C-player or even higher
  • At other times, attitude or maintenance issues may be so high, that regardless of the team members potential, he or she must be removed from the organization

Move Over:

  • If you think this team member is under performing because they are in the wrong role, go to the section below.
  • Look for existing or previous success stories within your organization to demonstrate the wisdom of shifting this team members role.
  • You may have to sell this idea to your manager or to other managers in the organization.

Move Up:

  • If you believe the team member has the potential to grow into a C-Player or better.
  • Consider placing the team member on a documented Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).  
  • A PIP should indicate a commitment on your part to help the team member improve, not as a way to vent your frustrations as a manager or to start the termination process. 

Move Out:

  • Contact your supervisor and HR Department. Consult them on your organization’s specific steps to move someone out of your organization.
  • Review previous evaluation scores and history, performance assessments or reviews by Generating a Report
  • Review results of PIP's


Re-Evaluate and Re-Assign a Team Member

  • Identify other potential roles and fits in the organization for the team member who currently scores as a Replacement Player
  • Review with your management peers or your supervisors other available roles for an team member with his or her skill set and potential
  • Discuss with the team member his or her goals, ambitions, and openness to a different role in the organization
  • Build a transition plan with the team member if--and only if--he or she fully buys into the idea of changing roles
  • Clearly define the timeline for the role transition

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Performance Improvement Plans

Consider Putting a Replacement Player on a PIP if you Believe they Have the Potential to Become a C Player or Higher.

A PIP should indicate a commitment on your part to help the team member improve, not as a way to vent your frustrations as a manager or to start the termination process.

A PIP should include the following:

  • Clearly stated behavior modifications
  • Realistic, achievable, and measurable results
  • Realistic time frame and deadlines
  • Appropriate training where necessary to develop skill set in under performing area or areas
  • Addressing individual issues or personal habits--such as tardiness, lack of courtesy in workspace, etc., that are undermining team member's potential for success
  • Details on how often you will meet with the team member to measure improvement and provide support
  • Clearly stated consequences for both meeting the objectives and measurables of the PIP and failure to meet the objectives and measurables of the PIP

Once you have drafted the PIP, review it with your HR department.

  • Ensure the PIP is aligned with company policies, values, and objectives
  • Specifics regarding the unacceptable performance should be given, including dates and detailed explanations.
  • Attach the job description
  • Get clearance from HR department for implementation of the PIP
  • Meet with the team member and initiate the PIP 

Further Reasons to Consider Using a PIP Plan:

  • Common risks associated with terminating an team member without proper documentation include a costly wrongful termination, discrimination or retaliation claim—especially if the team member meets any of these conditions:
    • Is in a protected class
    • Has a known medical condition 
    • Is on a medical related leave of absence
    • May have been subjected to a hostile work environment
    • Has filed a sexual harassment complaint

If You Believe it's Time to Terminate the Replacement Player

  • Contact your supervisor and HR Department. Consult them on your organization’s specific steps to move someone out of your organization.
  • Review previous Truvelop scores and history, performance assessments or reviews.
  • Review results of PIP's
  • Ensure you have all documentation where you have discussed and documented performance or attitude issues and discussed these issues with the team member. If you have been using Truvelop, that will all be present in the team members Summary history. 
  • In conjunction with senior leadership and/or the human resources department, assess and understand the risks associated with terminating this team member.

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Your Objective: Move Replacement Players Over, Up, or Out

Bottom line: it's time to address this situation and take the steps necessary to eliminate this negative force that is damaging your company’s culture and morale by choosing one of three available paths:

  1. Develop and elevate this team member if you believe they have the potential to be at least a C-player.
  2. Re-evaluate the team member's position and change his or her role in the organization.
  3. Eliminate the team member from the organization through legal termination.

The rest of your team members will thank you for taking appropriate action.

Handle termination with dignity. They should occur in a private area with at least one witness, but away from other employees.
Stephen McDonnell
Partner at Gawthrop Greenwood
The cost of keeping the wrong person can be up to 15 times his or her annual salary.
Cameron Herold
CEO Coach
The real problem is if you can't prove that you fired someone for a valid reason, it may look like you did fire the person for a discriminatory reason. This is why it is especially important for employers to keep good records and documentation of any employee problems.

Share your success story

We are always looking for success stories to share. Tell us an approach or technique that you have used to help one of your team members grow and succeed and we'll share it here. 

Send us an email with your success story. Send it to

We look forward to hearing--and sharing--your success story.


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