Employers work hard to offer great benefits, flexible schedules, and a fantastic working environment so they can attract and retain the best people. But once these awesome recruits are on staff, leadership often drops the ball when it comes to managing their performance.
If you’ve built a strong culture of trust and accountability, you might be tempted to think performance management isn’t an issue. But even the best employees can fall into ruts or develop habits that aren’t working. And even some of the best managers can fail to see it happening, or feel unsure about how to handle it.
It's not easy
As with most issues involving human beings, the reasons employees underperform can be complex and diverse. Arguably, very few people go to work every day wanting to do a bad job.
Most people really want to be high performers, but find obstacles in their way. Here are some common performance roadblocks:
- Ineffective training
- Poor communication
- Lack of accountability
- Confusion about expectations
- Unhealthy workloads
- Unrealistic goals
- Low morale
- Illness and/or personal issues
As you can see by this list, there is no quick fix or silver bullet for addressing any of these issues. But with dedication and follow-through, it can be done.
Commit to communication
Supervisors tend to have complete clarity about what is important, but often they haven’t effectively shared those details with their direct reports. For key goals and tasks to get accomplished consistently and well, everyone needs to be on the same page.
Clarify with each employee the three to five most important outcomes they are responsible for, why they matter, and how their work fits into the bigger picture. Let them know their performance will be measured against these items on a regular basis.
Define success. And track it.
It’s impossible to hold anyone accountable if no one is keeping track of what’s happening. Define your indicators of success and make them easily trackable, for both supervisors and employees.
Making managers responsible for all performance monitoring can put team members on the defensive. Besides, no one should be more interested in successful performance than your employees themselves. Allow them to track (or have access to) their own data and report their progress to their supervisor.
Very few people enjoy awkward conversations. And yet we often let things go until that becomes the case. Little things become big things. And before you know it, what could have been an easy conversation becomes a dreaded one.
When dealing with performance issues at work, think about using the airport security motto: If you see something, say something. Don’t ignore red flags. Check-in with staff regularly and have discussions as soon as a potential problem starts to emerge. That way, you can keep your conversations, and your performance management issues, from becoming threat level red.
Make it a priority
This might be the hardest thing of all. Busy supervisors often feel like they don’t have time to manage everyone’s performance regularly. But if you don’t have time to manage the little things, how will you ever find time to fix the bigger problems and issues that will eventually come of them?
Get out your calendar and start building time into your schedule now.
- Plan far enough ahead that your performance management sessions get booked before anything else.
- Schedule time with employees to review indicators and data, and discuss potential issues that either of you see emerging.
- Resist the temptation to cancel or reschedule these meetings due to “more important” things that come up.
Few things will drive business more than having a staff full of happy, focused, and productive, employees. But they need you to help keep them that way. Are Your Employees Struggling? Maybe it’s You.
Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Combined, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health. TO SCHEDULE CONSULTATIONS, A FREE DEMO, FREE COMPLIANCE REVIEW, AND TO KNOW MORE ABOUT OUR SPECIAL SERVICES AND PROGRAMS. CONTACT US NOW