A must read for all with intranet access at Microsoft:
You're Fired by I. M. Wright off of our (yah!) Engineering Excellence web site.
(Forwarded to me by a colleague who seems to know more than they should...)
This helps to re-enforce an important mindset for all managers to have about their low performers. It's your responsibility to get them back on track or out of the company. But no one likes going down that hard, muddy path of kicking someone out of the company. An article like this, at this time, is important for building the foundation of getting folks out of the company.
The mid-point is coming up at the beginning of the year. You don't have to wait until the major review to deliver a 2.5. Do you have someone how needs to hit the road? They just swung strike #3? At any moment you can talk to HR and and say "Hey, I want this person out of here. Now. What's my responsibility to ensure this is done right?"
Perhaps your group does an informal stack rank anyway for mid-point. Those folks who have been around for a while that are at the bottom of the ranking? How much are they costing your group? What if you could have a fired-up talented college-hire instead? Move 'em out!