Employee Performance Issues: Questions to Ask Yourself As a Manager
Evaluating the contributions of your staff isn’t always an easy task. There are many jobs and industries wherein quantifying or qualifying one’s output simply isn’t a cut-and-dry process. There is also the fact that individual behavior can be fluid and unpredictable, leading to inconsistencies day-to-day, week-to-week or beyond. In this regard, employee performance issues can often be difficult to identify, track or even to respond to.
As a manager, you have obligations both to your subordinates as well as to the greater overall business. You are charged with helping each worker under your supervision learn and understand how to perform their own job duties, but when your best efforts aren’t enough, it might be necessary to consider replacing the individual in question. Before you reach that stage, however, it’s crucial to ask yourself a few key questions as a manager.
Are There Deeper Issues at Work
One of the more difficult scenarios involves an employee who was, or is at times, a valued contributor. This can change for a number of reasons, both personal and professional. If nothing obvious comes to mind in the workplace, such as major changes in systems, technology or drastic alterations to company policies, there’s a chance that the employee in question is being distracted by personal factors. This might be something as minor as a traffic ticket or something as major as a family medical burden.
While there is a certainly a line you should not cross with respect to privacy and work-life separation, your company’s policies might allow for the type of heart-to-heart conversation which will help root out potential problems. In some cases, your company might even offer assistance or access to services which could benefit the individual in question, creating a win-win: a better situation for the employee and a better employee for your company.
Is This the Right Person for the Job
Sometimes employee performance issues are not so deeply-rooted. In many cases, it’s simply a matter of a poor fit, be it for the company or the position itself. If it’s not a bad cultural mix, then a recommended approach is to adapt. This can pertain to the job or to the person fulfilling it.
For example, if the position in your company is newer or has recently expanded, there’s a chance that the expected duties are too varied to balance or too strenuous to maintain. In these cases, simply shifting a few select functions to other departments is all that’s necessary to start correcting the behavior. You might alternately determine that the individual and job are not good matches for one another, in which case reassignment could be a better resolution.
Have You Set the Employee Up for Success
Employee performance issues can stem from many factors, but many times it’s the simplest of reasons. Ask yourself a few basic questions: Was training completed properly Does the employee have access to everything he or she needs Perhaps the most important question is whether or not you’re communicating performance shortfalls in an effective fashion.
Even with a well-designed training program in place and plentiful resources, employee performance issues can arise. In some cases, they might be completely the fault of the worker him or herself. As a manager, your duty becomes to make this person aware of the situation in a respectful and non-confrontational manner. Help your struggling employee understand the expectations which are not being met and how he or she can make corrections. Particularly with longer-term staffers, there’s always the chance that they’re simply unaware they’re slipping in the standings.
Are You Prepared to Terminate When Necessary
Despite your best efforts, there might be cases wherein you are unable to resolve specific employee performance issues. When all other avenues have been exhausted, you must ask yourself if you are prepared to let someone go, per company protocol. In other words, firing someone isn’t simply a matter of dropping the axe. In most cases, terminations should be preceded by a specific number of verbal and/or written warnings, depending on the severity of the issues or infractions.
Often times, your best bet is to bring the matter to the top of the chain, or if applicable, refer to your human resources department. While it may ultimately be necessary to remove a person from your staff, it’s important to ensure that you’ve followed all company policies and procedures. That way, you’ll be confident that the person in question is receiving fair consideration and that everything possible has been done to retain him or her. It’s also prudent to make sure that you don’t place your company at risk of litigation or legal recourse due to wrongful termination.
For more information about dealing with employee performance issues, please browse the resources available here at Mighty Recruiter.