Failure to act on poor performance could see the situation getting out of hand. Other members of the team may become resentful and ultimately the responsibility lies with you. Here are five key strategies to manage poor performance by a member of your team:
1. Don’t delay
Managers often wait too long to raise performance concerns with an employee and will put off delivering tough feedback. If informal opportunities have been missed to give feedback, then an employee can have a false impression of how well they are performing and so negative feedback can come as a shock.
If no formal steps have been put in place, and the company decides to remove the person from their duties, it may lead to claims of unfair dismissal.
2. Have tough conversations
Nobody likes to give negative feedback and so it’s tempting to soften the blow when giving an employee feedback about their performance. A lack of honesty in your feedback does not do you or the employee any favours. If you want your employee to improve, they need to know where their performance is lacking, and provide specific examples so that you can back up your claims.
You need to specifically identify what standard is required and there needs to be a two way conversation about how they can improve. Practicing these difficult conversations and delivering them in the right way can have a positive impact on both your team member and the team.
After the tough conversation with the employee and the plan you put together as to how they will improve, you need to taks responsibility for following through.
It’s very important that there is a clear and established follow-up process which establishes:
- What the goal is
- What the timeframe is for achievement of the goal?
- How will you measure whether they have achieved the goal?
- How regularly will you meet during the time for progress discussions?
Failure to follow up with an employee may lead them to think that everything is OK now and they continue as they were before.
A fair and established process can help If the individual involved fails to improve and you may need to consider terminating their employment. If you can clearly demonstrate that you gave the individual an opportunity to improve through a fair, documented process and you can document that they still haven’t, then you have some fair grounds.
4. Document each step
You should document the management of an employee’s performance with a clear paper trail. This doesn’t need to be extensive chapter and verse but some clear notes that document meetings and emails confirming the content of conversations can serve this purpose.
5. Improve your own performance
Finally, if you are not confident in dealing with poor performance of the team, then you need to look at your own performance! Successfully holding difficult conversations and managing poor performance is a key management skill.
Nobody likes having to manage poor performance – but with a confident and clear approach you can ensure the process is constructive, respectful and hopefully, successful.