How to Handle Poor Performance! (Part 3)
What do you do after you have coached and counseled an employee and they still do not meet performance expectations or correct the behavioral issue(s)? It can be a challenge to decide if an employee is going to succeed in their role.
You can’t change a person’s effort or behavior…only they can. What you can do is give them:
·Clear performance expectations,
·effective training and
·provide them with a respectful work environment.
Some companies have a formal discipline process….verbal notice and then written notice indicating to the employee the seriousness of the problem. Both types of notices are documented and included in an employee’s file. During this process, an employee realizes that their job is in jeopardy and they need to make the necessary changes.
Suggestion: If termination is the recommendation, before implementing ask yourself…Are you requiring the same performance from all of your employees? OR do just not like this person? If your evaluation is based on personality, be careful as the employee can potentially have a legal case against you and the company. Keep your evaluations around performance that you have monitored and you will satisfy legal requirements.
Most managers give the employee several chances to solve the performance or behavior issue(s). If it is a performance issue, it may take a bit more time to solve the issue if they need to increase their knowledge. Behavioral issues should be resolved by the employee quickly….for example, lateness, sloppiness or negativity.
A manager faces several issues with a low performing employee. Besides not meeting the expectations of their role, the individual also affects the rest of the team. How are the other team members reacting to the individual’s low performance or behavior issue? Usually the team members are aware of the performance issues, though they may still react if you terminate the employee.
Here are some concerns managers express when termination is considered:
·You have given a lot of your energy to the employee’s success and believe if you just find the right motivator, the employee’s performance will meet standards.
·You have no time to find a new person.
·The cost of recruiting and training a new person is high.
·Heavy demand to meet business deliverables and you can’t avoid being short a person. Who will do the work?
·How will the rest of the team react to the termination?
·If the individual has contacts with vendors or other external relationships, how will they react to the change?
You can’t fix every employee issue. What you are required to do is managed the situation effectively to minimize the impact on the employee, the rest of the team and the business.
If the employee is not able to meet their job responsibilities, and you have coached and counseled them, the most respectful action is to move them out of that role. If you can find another role that suits their talents, then offer them the opportunity. If not, then you will need to address the issue and terminate the employee.
Find out what your company’s policy is regarding terminating an employee. Small companies may not have a Human Resources Department, though they usually have legal counsel that can guide them. Though most U.S. states have “at will” employment status, you are not an expert on employment law, so pass your documentation on for review and support with your decision.
Always refer to your company’s policies and procedures before terminating an employee. Here are some guidelines to help you through this process:
Planning Before the Meeting
·Create the final termination document, setting forth the reason(s) why employment is being terminated.
·Review the employee’s file, records of prior counseling, verbal, and/or written warnings, and any other pertinent documentation with Human Resources/Legal.
·Decide when and where to hold the termination meeting. Select a private location, away from view by other employees. The best time for the meeting is at the end of the day to minimize interaction with coworkers both before and after. The middle of the week is preferable to a Friday, as the employee can immediately start their job search.
·Anticipate and be prepared for the employee’s reaction to the termination – are there security issues?
·Notify the appropriate department to secure the computer and telephone systems, security badges, passwords, keycards, and other company property. Make sure you have an Exit document in place so that you can forward to the appropriate people in your company.
·Plan for the employee to get personal items from the work area.
·Create a list of all people who will be affected by this termination and decide where the work is to go after the person leaves.
·Plan the message for notifying clients and employees who work with the impacted employee. This should be coordinated with Human Resources and/or legal counsel. It’s important that the message is respectful to the departing employee.
In Conducting the Termination:
·Arrange for a representative from Human Resources to be present. If you don’t have a HR department, make sure another manager or supervisor is present. Never do a termination alone.
·Stay focused on communicating the facts of the decision – do not let the discussion become personal. Focus on the performance and not on the person.
·Be ready for the employee’s reaction and let them share their reactions. Have a time limit in your mind, so you can help the employee move forward. Otherwise, they may try to talk you out of your decision.
·In some companies, the manager gives the notice and the reasons behind the decision. Then HR takes over and helps transition the employee out of the company.
·Do not allow for negotiation; emphasize that the decision has been made and it is final.
·Advise co-workers that the employee no longer works with the company. This should be coordinated with Human Resources and/or legal counsel.
·Advise supervisors and co-workers what the “company statement” will be for clients or others calling for the employee. (Usually inquiries go to Human Resources or one specific individual in your organization that knows how to respond to outside questions.) Even if the employee resigns, it’s important to construct a “company statement.”
·Communicate to all parties affected by this termination and let them know how the work will be completed going forward.
·Document the termination meeting and place all documentation in the employee’s file.
It’s difficult to terminate a member of the team, though it is your responsibility to handle the situation. Just remember to treat the individual with respect throughout the process.
How to Handle Poor Performance – Part 1
How to Handle Poor Performance – Part 2
High Maintenance Employees