Dealing with employee performance problems is one of the most difficult tasks a manager has to undertake. Let’s be honest – nobody really wants to have a conversation with their staff member on the lines of ‘ I need to talk to you about a problem with your performance’. The good news is that many managers wouldn’t have to have these conversations at all – if they put some preventative measures in place
So, what are the ways managers can prevent employee performance problems occurring?
Here are my three top tips
1. Get clear on what effective employee performance looks like
How can managers expect their staff to perform to a satisfactory standard – if they haven’t explained what that standard is? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve helped managers to resolve employee performance problems simply by helping them to get clear with their staff what ‘satisfactory’ or ‘effective’ performance actually looks like in practice
The best way to prevent performance problems is for managers to ensure that their staff are crystal clear on what’s expected of them. The easiest way to do this (in my view) is by managers agreeing performance objectives with their staff (objectives that define not just the quantity and quality elements of the job – but the behavioural elements too)
For a full explanation of how to use performance objectives to improve staff performance grab a copy of my free report ‘Performance Objectives Made Easy
2. Get clear on why employee performance is important to the business / organisation
Is it realistic for managers to expect their staff to put time and effort into performing to the required standard for the job – if they don’t understand why their performance is important to the business or organisation? Most people struggle to motivate themselves to perform effectively – day after day – if they don’t see the value of what they do. A lot of the underperformance I see occurs because staff simply don’t see the importance of what they are being asked to do
A great way to prevent underperformance arising is for managers to spend time illustrating to their staff how important their work is. A simple way to do this is, when communicating performance objectives or any other type of performance standards, to specify the importance to the business of the staff member achieving those objectives
(See examples of how to illustrate the importance of the staff member’s performance at ‘Management Skills – Helping Employees to see the Bigger Picture‘)
3. Spot performance problems early by monitoring employee performance
When managers put monitoring methods in place (and when they involve their staff in monitoring their own performance) they are in a position to identify quickly and early any performance problems. And, as ever, problems spotted early are much easier to deal with than those left to fester. Enough said?
Employee Performance Problems Summary
Of course, even if managers use the very best prevention methods, employee performance problems may still arise. If the managers in your business need help in dealing with underperformance why not take a look at my video ‘Motivating Your Staff to Improve Their Performance with Positive Criticism’ where I teach managers how to give constructive criticism to their staff in a way that the staff member finds easy to understand and easy to accept and which significantly improves staff performance. Take a look at the video details and find out how to watch a preview session from the video HERE