Discover how to Manage Employee Performance
Use your leadership skill, take action to resolve poor employee performance today and see your team achieve great results!
Resolving poor employee performance is one of the hardest things you, as a leader will have to do. However, employee performance management is a key leadership skill that will set you apart from the pack as a great people leader.
You will find that good leaders identify and quickly action poor employee performance. The early identification of performance issues is critical to your people leadership success.
It is less confronting to discuss a new performance issue with an employee at the time of observation. If you let poor performance linger unaddressed for a period of time the performance management conversation will be a lot more difficult.
The six step model described on this page will help you to identify and prioritize performance issues in your business.
How to Guide “Identifying specific examples”
There are many ways to approach the challenge of identifying specific examples of poor employee performance. The reason this method works is simply that it shifts your focus to the behavior(s) or performance that needs correction rather than to the person who is not performing.
Remember your goal is to fix a behavior or performance problem, not to fix a person. Ideally, you will address the performance issue in a way that leaves the employee feeling confident that they can resolve the issue and remain a valued employee. Follow our simple yet powerful 6 step process to further develop your people leadership skill.
Step 1: Identifying all “Undesirable Behaviors”
To get started, we can generate a list including all undesirable behaviors or performance issues in your business. Your list will include everything that your employees do or do not do that you would like to change ranging from people turning up late to low or poor quality outputs.
If you work in a team with other team leaders or managers, you might get some value from completing this activity as a group. Shared knowledge improves your leadership skill.
Note: If your list includes acts of gross misconduct that warrant a summary dismissal, please seek advice from your human resources advisor to resolve these issues today!
Step 1: List all of the behaviors that you would like to eliminate from your business, including poor job performance
Poor customer service
Hostility between teams
Non completion of assigned tasks
Absenteeism and lateness
Not wearing safety equipment
Not following documented process
Step 2: Identify which “undesirable behaviour” to focus on
As is often the case, you will end up with more than one undesirable behavior or performance issue to resolve. In which case, you should identify which one to resolve first.
(A key leadership skill - do not focus on the person, ignore the people, lets focus on which behaviour to resolve).
If your list includes undesirable behavior and poor performance, you might like to consider addressing the undesirable behavior first. It is normally easier to address behavioral problems and you can usually see improvements straight away.
A common question: Why not address all poor performance issues at once?
If you discuss too many issues with your employees in one go you may overwhelm them and cause your employee to loose their confidence.
Ideally, you will focus on the performance issue or behavior that causes the greatest problem for your business. By focusing on one behavior at a time, you will be taking a continuous improvement approach to performance management. (Note: this guide does not apply to acts of gross misconduct)
Step 2: Pick the first behavior/performance that you would like to eliminate
|Example a: Not wearing safety equipment
|Example b: Taking excessive breaks
|Example c: Being rude to the team coach
Step 3: Identify all of the people who demonstrate this behavior
A good leader is fair and consistent. After selecting a behavior or performance issue to focus on, identify all people demonstrate this behavior or performance issue.
Make sure you do your homework and be consistent – then you cannot go wrong.
Management Tip: Do not make excuses for any one person. Making people accountable for their own behaviour is a good leadership skill to develop.
Step 3: Identify all people who demonstrate this behavior
|Example a: John, David and Mary
|Example b: John, David and Mary
|Example c: Peter, Margaret and Leslie
Step 4: Clarify your Expectations
Now that you have an understanding of what behavior or performance issue to resolve first, it is time to determine what you would like the undesirable behavior replaced with.
Where possible to clarify your expectations you can refer back to documented standards, your code of conduct or records of previous discussions.
Management Training Tip:
Just because you can prove someone has seen the standard does not mean the standard is the current enforceable standard. Your documented standards cease to be current the first time an employee does not comply with the standard and you do nothing about it.
Step 4: Identify the desired behavior
|Example a: Wear your safety gloves when decanting chemicals
|Example b: Take five minutes per hour
|Example c: Be polite to the team coach
Step 5: Why do you want to correct this behaviour?
What are the consequences to the business, the team or the customer of the performance problem?
To be assertive and to create a compelling reason for change, use your leadership skill to discuss the impact of their behavior, with your employee.
Note: If the impact is negligible, are you sure that the performance is really a problem?
Step 5: Why do you want to correct this behavior?
|Example a: Not wearing chemical gloves may result in a burn to the hand if there is an accidental spill, Chemical burns can be deep and take time to heal. You may require time off work to recover which will increase the cost of our accident insurance.
|Example b: By taking excessive breaks you are placing more pressure on your team and leaving insufficient resources to assist customers, the customer wait time increases and customer service decreases. Customer satisfaction is a pivotal part of the success of this business.
|Example c: The team coach works hard and is trying to help you to improve your performance, being rude causes them stress and affects their day.
Step 6: What has happened in the past to address this behavior/performance issue?
Do a little investigative work, talk to your human resource people or ask managers who have been around for a while what has occurred in the past. This step is worth the effort as you might get some additional context.
Example: When about to address an issue of excessive smoking breaks the manager uncovered that, the previous manager was a chain smoker. The previous manager actively condoned smoking, by chatting to the employees in the smoking hut. In the performance discussion the manager was able to open with “I know in the past that previous managers did not discourage smoking, however ……”
Great use of leadership skill! The discussion would be more difficult if the manager discovered this fact during the performance discussion
Step 6: What happened in the past to address this behavior?
|Example a: Training for all employees
|Example b: Nothing
|Example c: This is a new issue, we recently changed coaches in this team, the new coach is more visible and active in giving employees feedback to improve their performance.
Using Your Leadership Skill
Identifying Employee Performance Issues - Summary
This 6 step model will assist you to identify and prioritize employee performance management activities in your business.
As a good leader, you will focus on the behavior that you would like to see improved, identifying specific examples to illustrate your point and clearly explaining your expectations in the future. You will be consistent with all employees in your business.
Be persistent, it takes time to develop a new leadership skill.
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