How to Handle Poor Performance! (Part 1)
A major daily function for you as a manager is to handle employee performance. This is a challenging aspect of your role, especially since you have business deliverables demanding your attention.
I’ve broken down how to handle poor performance with your employees into three sections and each one will be handled in separate blog entries:
-Part 1: Organizing the Discussion
-Part 2: Managing the Performance
-Part 3: Final Decision
If your job as manager is to coach and motivate your team for high performance levels, how do you deal with the poor performer? Performance revolves around two distinct issues:
-Performance – What the employee is doing
-Behavior – How the employee performs their work
Both are equally important in evaluating the overall performance of your employee. Though an employee may be executing the work correctly, if they are negative, their behavior is affecting the work environment.
First, your role as manager:
-is to define the work,
-insure that the employee is properly trained and capable to perform his or her responsibilities,
-find out what motivates them, and
-keep an eye on the performance levels
You are not responsible for doing the employee’s work…that’s their job.
The most effective managers deal with behavioral and performance issues by helping their employee. In most cases, there is a reason underlying the negative behavior or decreased performance, particularly if the employee in question has a good record.
Organizing the Discussion
Though this is an obvious first step, many managers are reluctant to approach the employee around their performance. It can sometimes be difficult to speak with an employee, especially if you have any of the following concerns:
-that the employee may react defensively;
-that the current labor market is tight; or
-that the issue seems minor and mentioning it could de-motivate your employee.
Since most employees want to contribute effectively to the business, you have to bring performance or behavior issues to their attention. Do it sooner….rather than later. It’s so much easier to change an employee’s performance early on, otherwise the performance becomes embedded and more resistant to change. So do some homework first.
Questions to Ask When Facing A Performance Problem
-Is the performance or behavior issue minor and you just need to coach them how to correct the problem? This is appropriate with a new employee.
-Is the substandard performance a pattern or a recent development? If recent, probe into the reasons for the current level of performance. If the issue is personal, recommend that the employee contact your Human Resources representative for potential resources to help them with their specific issue. If you don’t have a HR Department, ask the employee what they need to boost their performance during this challenging time. If the solution is doable for you, this is perfect time to show the employee that you are willing to work with them.
-Special note regarding personal issues…depending on your company’s size some personal issues are protected by the law. Check with legal or HR before finalizing your decision.
-Have similar events occurred in the past? Has the employee been counseled previously on the issue in question or on a similar issue?
-Does the employee have the necessary skills, knowledge, abilities and temperament to do the job?
-Has the employee received adequate training, guidance and feedback?
-Has there been a change in the workload volume, increase in stress, staffing shortages, or any other changes that may be affecting performance for this employee?
-Are system barriers beyond the employee’s control contributing to the performance problems?
-Does the employee have the proper tools, equipment, support and work environment?
-Is this an “attitude” issue? An employee with an attitude problem can be a challenge for a manager. Their behavior is frustrating and if they are performing, you may be reluctant to speak with them about it. Some behaviors managers have experienced: employees sighing, rolling their eyeballs, making negative comments or challenging a request. Deal with it immediately!
Before you schedule your discussion time with the employee……stay tune for the next blog entry…..Managing The Performance. Here I will give you tools to handle different types of performance or behavior issues. Then you can schedule your Discussion Meeting.
How to Handle Poor Performance – Part 2
How to Handle Poor Performance – Part 3
How To Handle An Employee With An ‘Attitude’