This past year was the first time I heard the term ‘Black Hole’ employee as I was attending a talk given by Tony Hsieh and Fred Mossler of Zappos.com. The term was coined, I believe, by Fred. Little did I know I was likely considered a Black Hole employee by former managers.
What is a Black Hole Employee?
The term refers to employees who you give a task to and you don’t need to worry about it anymore because the employee will get it done. Managers love Black Hole employees. These individuals make the lives of a manager much easier. The managers don’t need to worry about the task, check-in on the task, etc. It frees up the managers’ time and energy.
The Downside of Being a Black Hole Employee
I believe at times, though, the Black Hole employees unintentionally get overlooked by their managers. Managers only have so much time in the day. There are employees who do not perform as well, who don’t take care of tasks and who take up much more of a manager’s time. These individuals get the time and attention of their manager because it is necessary for business success. However, carving out time for the Black Hole employee is necessary for business success too. They are already strong contributors, but don’t overlook their goals and ways they can and want to develop in their career.
A Big Impact on Your Business
While the Black Hole employees are likely very engaged in their work, you will want to spend time with them to make sure they continue to be engaged. The loss of a Black Hole employee will have much more of a negative impact if they decide to leave. While it’s easier to overlook spending time with strong employees, make sure to schedule it into your regular routine. The impact of this time spent could be enormous to the individual and your organization.