Employee performance issues. We all dread them and may try to avoid them. The issue becomes the elephant in the room. When you are faced with performance issues with a team member, do you approach it head on or do you avoid having ‘the talk’? Unfortunately, when we avoid or delay these types of conversations, the problem remains and often intensifies. Whether your employee is having attendance issues, performance issues, or relationship issues with his co-workers, addressing these matters up front will save everyone a lot of time and frustration. Here are a few strategies to consider that will build your confidence when speaking with your employee:
Chances are the employee knows there is an issue and that it is a matter of time before he is called out. Delaying is a bad idea for two reasons. First, if you allow the performance issue to persist, productivity and performance will continue to decline (and may affect other team members negatively). Second, delaying gives the employee an advantage to prepare his defense or turn the tables on you. You will be in defense mode rather than in control of the conversation.
Do not ‘wing it’. Come to the meeting with a list of talking points to help keep you on track. Stay focused on the performance issue at hand and make sure you have concrete examples to share. Generalities or opinions do little to help the employee understand how they need to improve and do not offer the type of documentation you may need in court. Focus your discussion on behaviors that can be quantified
Your primary goal should be to offer support to the employee and have an open dialog about the performance issue. Let the employee talk and make sure you are listening. He may provide a new perspective. Ensure you set clear expectations on what changes in behavior and performance need to be made going forward.
Discussions related to poor performance are never easy. However, when handled correctly, both you and the employee can walk away from the meeting feeling empowered and positive that you are now moving in the right direction.
Need assistance handling a difficult employee relations issue? Give us a call. We help our clients every day navigate these challenges with poise and confidence.