It’s not something that any of us like to face or have to deal with, but unfortunately, poor workplace performance does occur. Have you noticed that one or more of your employees seems to be letting the team down of late or recently joined your company but aren’t as productive or effective as you’d like?
If so, it’s time to proactively address the situation before it gets worse and before it affects your other team members too much.
Learn How to Identify Poor Performance
Before you can manage issues with performance in your organization, you must learn how to identify them. This might sound simple, but it’s not necessarily something that business owners and managers spend enough time looking out for or analyzing. Some problems that crop up are apparent and cause immediate issues for your venture, but this isn’t always the case. Plus, lacklustre results due to less-than-stellar performance tend to build up over time.
To pick up on poor performance, it pays to keep your eyes open to a higher-than-average number of errors from workers. Such compilation of mistakes may indicate that they’re distracted, unmotivated, or displaying poor judgment. Also, take notice if you have a worker that starts to call in sick a lot, misses many deadlines, or keeps asking to take personal days or leave without pay.
Perhaps people miss meetings or don’t pay attention to them, or you receive many complaints about specific staff members from customers, suppliers, other workers, or managers. Other signs of poor performance include people whose work fluctuates significantly, constantly blaming someone else for work problems, or having aggressive outbursts.
Investigate Why Problems Might Be Arising
Once you’ve identified issues, try to determine why an employee is having or causing problems. Reasons aren’t always to do with things going on with that person, personally. While they might be having trouble at home, health or mental health issues, or be sick of their job and want a change, other things might be at play.
For example, consider whether you have a company culture problem that means some of your staff members have low morale and don’t feel acknowledged or valued. If so, you can address this situation by taking the time to thank your team for their efforts and results and implement their suggestions where possible to show you’re listening to them.
You might like to make flexible working arrangements possible, hand out awards to high performers, and give people rewards and perks for a job well done and loyalty to the company. If you don’t have the time or knowledge to handle these HR tasks, don’t be afraid to outsource them. Firms like Workhuman specialize in this area, so you can delegate as needed.
You might also have problems with bullying or other harassment in the workplace or have one or more employees who aren’t pulling their weight and are dragging others down. These are all things worth identifying and addressing as soon as possible. Making changes to how your workers get treated and how colleagues interact can significantly impact overall performance, so it’s undoubtedly worth investigating if this is something you can be proactive about to get better results.
Take Action Steps
If people aren’t performing as you need them to, chat with them about ways to turn things around. You must also let employees know the consequences if they don’t improve in the areas you’re addressing with them. It might be uncomfortable having these conversations, especially if you know people are struggling at home or have a health issue, etc. However, at the end of the day, you’re still running a business and need to take action steps if issues continue.
Sometimes, a worker may have done something illegal or engaged in other very problematic behaviour, meaning you need to let them go. For example, if someone stole from your company or sexually harassed another employee, you must fire them ASAP. Depending on the situation, you may need to give people warnings, too, or let them know you’re dissatisfied and give a clear explanation of how you expect them to lift their game in the future. Provide explicit, detailed feedback and use data and other evidence. Avoid attacking people personally or losing your head during these conversations.
Plus, work with people to develop strategies they can use to achieve better performance from now on. They might need access to more training or mentoring, for instance, or have some tasks taken off their to-do list if they’ve become too inundated with work due to staff shortages or other people not pulling their weight. Some people may need unpaid time off to clear their heads, too.
Unfortunately, you will likely have at least some employees over the years who don’t perform as you’d like, so this is a topic you need to wrap your head around sooner rather than later.