Many thanks to Tani Hansen from Everest Group for coming along to Business @ the Library on Wednesday to discuss managing employee performance. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a quick summary of Tani’s main points.
What is poor performance?
Poor performance can be broadly defined as the employee not meeting the employer/manager’s expectations.
It’s important to remember that poor performance isn’t always on purpose. The first step is to find out if the employee is clear about what’s required of them and that that there aren’t any other factors standing in the way of their successful completion of their work.
- Do they have the appropriate resources to perform the work?
- Do they know where to access those resources?
- Do they have the necessary skills? This is particularly important to consider if the employee has been promoted to the position on the basis that they were great at their previous role.
- Do they just not want to do the job?
Employment law is based on the premise that people don’t aim to come to work to do a bad job. Keep an open mind when discussing an employee’s performance with them and try to understand their perspective.
The skill/will matrix
It can be helpful to consider where the employee sits in the skill/will matrix in order to help you work out how best to proceed. You can find out more about this matrix here, but in summary:
- High will/low skill employees require more guidance and coaching.
- Low will/high skill employees will need more direction. Tell them what they need to do.
- High skill/low will employees need some coaching. Try and find out why their motivation has dropped off and find ways to excite and challenge them again.
Performance improvement plans (PIPs)
- If you’d like to begin a PIP, draft the document to around 80%.
- Talk through the rest with the employee – there may be things that you’re not aware of that need to be considered. You also need to have input from the employee in order to get their buy-in.
- Remember, there should have already been some discussion with the employee about their performance before it gets to this stage.
- Discuss the plan in the context of the employee’s success, not their failure.
- Once the plan is in place, meet with the employee and review performance and progress on a regular basis.
- Company policies, as long as they are fair and reasonable, can be enforced by the employer.
- Professional guidance should always be sought before the employer seeks to dismiss a staff member.
Leading a performance culture
- Avoiding dealing with poor performance can have a negative impact on other people in the organisation. If poor performance is managed, other employees appreciate that and overall performance tends to lift. Ensure that all employees know what good performance looks like and that poor performance won’t be accepted.
- Think about ways to reward, acknowledge and celebrate good performance, including providing the opportunity for skills development.
- Systems and processes within an organisation can affect performance. Are yours efficient, or too cumbersome and therefore weighing on performance?
- It’s important to let each employee grow and develop in their own way. Recognise and encourage differences among staff.
- Think about behaviours you’re condoning or endorsing.
It all begins at the time of employment…
- Be clear about the role and the type of person you want when you begin the recruitment process. Consider hiring high will/low skill people. Maybe it’s more important to get someone who can fit in to your team and learn on the job.
- Include other people in the interview and reference checking process so you get a variety of viewpoints.
- Be clear about your expectations from the start, including terms and conditions of employment and company policies.
- Ensure new staff receive a good quality induction to your business.
- Make and effort to keep employees engaged and developing throughout their time in your business.
Tani will be back with us on Wednesday the 13th of September at 5.30pm to talk about strategies to help you retain your superstar employees. Please register over on our Eventbrite page if you’d like to come along so we know to pop a seat out for you.
Have a great weekend,