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Are you managing poor performance?

Posted in Employers on Dec 15, 2017 by Keeley Edge

Many managers find it difficult to address poor performance; if they can avoid conflict they will. The problem is that if you ignore poor performance in the workplace, no matter how small, it can lead to bigger issues down the line. Turning a blind eye may be the easy option now but it could make things difficult later.

The good news is that managing poor performance doesn’t necessarily mean you have to issue formal warnings or carry out disciplinary meetings. Here is our advice for managing performance more effectively without causing unnecessary conflict.

Have documented policies

We’ve previously discussed the importance of having documented HR policies and procedures. Setting the standards from the outset makes managing performance much easier. If employees know exactly what the expectation is and what the consequences are, then it is easier to hold them accountable for poor behaviour or performance.

Employees are less likely to underperform or breach company guidelines if they have received a documented policy.

Acknowledge the issue

Sometimes simply acknowledging an issue can be enough to stop a problem developing. If an employee arrives five minutes late or they have come to work dressed inappropriately, make sure you address it. You don’t have to make a big deal over it, just make them aware you have noticed.

Acknowledge an issue straight away; don’t leave it six months until their next appraisal to bring it up.

Be consistent

Be consistent with the issues you are raising. If an employee is late one day and you mention it, don’t let it go unnoticed the next day. Equally, if you raise an issue with one employee and another employee has a similar issue, you must raise it with them too.

Employees should never feel like there is favouritism or that they are being singled out.

Have a conversation

If there is a recurring issue, then sit down with your employee and have a conversation. You may find there is an underlying problem that can be dealt with easily. If an employee is constantly making the same mistake with a system, then they may simply need additional training.

If an employee is constantly late, they may be struggling with public transport or having to drop children off at school in time to get to work. Perhaps you can change their start time to make it easier for them.  

Make an action plan

Once you have addressed any issues, make an action plan with the employee. If they need additional training, set dates for when this will be given and when you will follow up with them. If you are changing their contracted hours, ensure you follow up to check the changes have resolved the issues.

Make sure the action plan contains any actions you need to take, as well as any actions the employee needs to take. Where appropriate, set deadlines for these actions and schedule a follow-up meeting.

Document everything

Ensure you document everything, whether formal or informal. If an employee is late and you address it, make a note in your diary or your HR records.

Accurate documentation will help your case if an issue goes on to become more serious later down the line.

Seek advice

If you are having serious performance issues or have a gross misconduct case, then this should be handled with care. If you don’t have an internal HR department then seek advice from an expert HR consultant before you move forward. Handling a matter in the wrong way could result in legal action.

At Key Appointments, we have a network of trusted partners, including professional HR consultants who can give you expert help and advice. If you would like us to connect you with one of our recommended suppliers or you have a recruitment need, then we’d love to hear from you.

Contact us today on 0844 504 4666 to find out how we help you source and retain the best talent for your business.

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