Cable & Wireless head of HR claims sacking poor performers is an ‘easy’ task

Sacking poor performers is an “easy” task, according to an HR director who axed 85% of his own team within a week of starting.

Cable & Wireless UK head of HR Bernard Buckley told Personnel Today that many senior HR professionals looked for excuses to avoid the issue.

Buckley took the helm of the communications firm’s 13-strong HR function last year – and immediately sacked most of the people in it. “The HR function was a complete mess,” he said. “It was not up to standard, morale was low, and its credibility within the business was zero.”

UK employers waste more than £30m a year on under-performing staff, according to a survey of 800 HR professionals by Personnel Today last year.  Almost one in three respondents admitted poor performance was a major problem for them.

Employers also backed solicitor Mark Ellis’ call for the unfair dismissal law to be scrapped to allow bosses to sack staff without fear of legal reprisals. However, Buckley insisted this was people looking for excuses.

“People shy away from sacking poor performers,” he said. “Everyone thinks it is hard but it was easy. I have never lost a tribunal case.”

Buckley has focused on trying to improve Cable & Wireless’ reputation for customer service since he joined the company.

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