How to deal with an employee performance issue.
When you're responsible for the performance of a team, one of the more difficult jobs is handling an employee who isn't pulling their weight or who has a performance issue. With so many people out of work and looking for jobs, it just doesn't make sense to fire an employee without first trying to solve the problem.
Many people who work in management got their jobs because they are good at what they do. The problem is, they may not have the best skills when it comes to managing employees. If you are having trouble with an employee, here are some ways to coach them and help solve the problem while building a stronger working relationship.
Before you can effectively handle the problem, you have to do a little bit of fact finding. You really need to see the problem first hand. You can accomplish this by walking around the office a little each day. After a couple of days, it will become clear what the problem is and the affect it is having on productivity.
Once you have identified the issue, it's time to address it with the employee and provide some coaching. Here are the basics:
- Have a one-on-one meeting with the employee. Coaching needs to be a private matter, so respect your employees need for discretion and don't talk about the situation with other employees.
- Be clear when you explain what the issue is and why it is a problem. It's important to be specific and give examples.
- Understand that most people don't take criticism well and expect that they will attempt to defend their actions. It is important to listen and not escalate the situation. Often, they are just trying to explain why they were doing things that way. Try to remain calm and tactful at this point.
- Make sure you have the facts straight. Ask open ended questions in order to find out the cause of the problem. Many times these sorts of problems are caused by the employee being confused about what was expected.
- Ask the employee for their suggestions. Maybe they have an idea for a way to solve the issue. Getting the employee to take ownership of the solution will raise the likelihood that it will be done correctly.
- Be clear about what needs to happen in order for the problem to be corrected. Make sure that they understand what you expect of them.
- Ask the employee to commit to the planned solution in order to resolve the performance issue.
- Have a definite time frame for the resolution and schedule a follow-up meeting in order to asses the effectiveness of the employee's efforts.
- During the next few weeks, take note of the employee's attempt to correct the problem and give both positive and negative feedback.
- Be sure to document the issue, the conversation and the proposed solution in the employee's file. This will give you something to refer back to in the follow up meeting and will come in handy if the problem isn't resolved and you have to take further action.
What do you do when your employee is having a performance issue? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for SalesHeadsBlog, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.