People Smartz

Managing Performance Issues - Don't Let Them Fester!

Tony Perkins - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It is interesting the way businesses handle performance issues with employees. 

Some handle them promptly, professionally and in a way that encourages improvement.  Others handle them poorly, carry a big stick and get what they want through an aggressive approach.  Finally you have a group that do nothing at all - at least until the problem becomes so bad that it can't be ignored!

Avoiding conflict is human nature, generally managers and business owners don't want conflict within their business.  However, poor performance has effects on business performance, team morale and may result in conflict anyway.

It is important for Business Owners or Managers to undertake regular two way communication with employees.  Performance issues should be addressed as a matter of course, not as an exceptional circumstance.  If it is done correctly, then it can be seen as a learning event rather than a disciplinary issue.

My children have been taught at school that if they have a problem to do something about it - maybe this is a lesson we should all take on when it comes to performance issues.

Some hints to you in regards to managing performance:

  • Ensure your employees are aware of your expectations.  This can be in the form of position descriptions, goals and targets, employment agreements or various other instruments.  Talking to them regularly is another way of letting them know your expectations.
  • Make sure your employees know the effects of failing to meet your expectations in regards to business performance.
  • Ensure your employees know what to expect if their performance fails to meet these expectations. Ensure you have aprocess of communication and counseling for such issues in place and that everyone is aware of it.
  • Make sure your process initially is designed to encourage improvement in performance in a educational manner (so that they learn from their mistakes)
  • If they continue to perform poorly, have a system in place to manage the issue through to a positive outcome but with the recognition that continued poor performance may result in termination of employment.
  • Finally - if it does come to the point where the situation is no longer tenable - have a strong process in place to terminate employment.

Systems to encourage positive outcomes are your best defence against poor performance.  It is much better to manage performance in a positive manner than manage poor performance in a negative one - for you and your employees.

People Smartz Coaches can assist you with performance issues or with putting in place the systems you need to encourage positive outcomes.

Contact People Smartz today.

Milen Minchev commented on 03-Jul-2009 03:19 PM
Thank you for this article!
My additional take on it is to compare current (poor) performance with previous performance. The case described above is one of a mediocre (or unskilled, or lazy) employee - and you have tackled it perfectly.

However, If a good employee begins to show different and worse results, a self-examination can be in order. Here come questions of appropriate salary and benefits, respectful treatment, recognition of achievement, career prospects, workplace comfort and private life, among others.

If one of your good people is no longer good, take out steps 1-3, don't even think of 6 (good employees are very costly to replace) but do 4 and 5, and more specifically consider listening to the employee - even if they criticize you. A positive conversation can turn them around, or at least teach you what not to do in the future - and lose others.
Tony Perkins commented on 03-Jul-2009 04:50 PM
Thank You Milen! I could not agree more with your comment, specially those regarding good employees. The important thing to remember is that even good people have bad times - we can all probably remember such times in our own lives!

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