Not everyone is a low performer, and not always. Usually what really happens is that as engagement at work falls, focus starts getting affected. And then, the performance gap begins to show. It’s a big red flag for any business when that starts to happen, as employee underperformance can start to affect business bottom line.
Businesses are focusing on becoming leaner by the day. As a result, it becomes imperative for teams to work seamlessly, and problems like underperformance can no longer be ignored. Apart from being able to deliver high quality work on time, good managers also keep an eye on their team members’ performance and help them grow their career. They want their team to succeed and retain their jobs for a longer period of time. If you are one such manager, here are a few tips for you to handle employees when their performance starts to dip.
Improve your feedback
One of the best ways to improve your feedback is to ensure it is direct and succinct. Let your low performing employee know that you have notices the dipping performance and would like to do something to improve the situation rather than give up on them. Leave out a long-winding preamble, no one remembers positive feedback for long anyway. Stick to the main points you wish to convey and detail them if required.
Prepare an action plan
Either you really wish to improve the situation, or you wish to give up on it. Without a viable solution, any negative feedback is useless and inevitably points to giving up by the manager. So, when you convey to an individual that their performance needs an upgrade, you might as well demonstrate your willingness to help them achieve it with a well-structured plan. Involving them in fine-tuning that action plan so that they know you mean business.
Look at the communication channels
Does your team know exactly what you expect them to deliver? Managers often have far too much on their minds. As a result, communication channels may suffer. There may be times when they give up on a team member and stop communicating altogether. And that’s the biggest mistake. Your team members need to know exactly what’s expected of them. You need to convey your expectation clearly, leaving absolutely no room for ambiguity at all. To achieve best results, sit with them and define every key responsibility area. Let them know that you care about their career progress and that their performance as directed by their KRAs is essential to their success.
Set performance goals
It’s critical to define performance targets that must be achieved through each well-defined KRA for every individual. Asking them for inputs on how they can improve and any new skills they might need to perform better. The objective here is to engage them in a dialogue and let them take charge of their own career path while providing them will all the tools and implements to achieve success.
Follow up on implementation
Once the action plans and goals are set, and the problems have been rooted out, it is time for you as the manager to ensure that the proposed changes are being implemented by the individual. If there’s a defined timeline in those action plans, make sure they are followed diligently at every step.
Employees are the greatest asset for any business. It is also said that employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Poorly managed employees can be highly counterproductive for a business. Having said that, it may not always be easy for managers to confront poor performers, especially for first time managers. That’s where a proper system for dealing with such situations becomes essential. And the best managers always know that instead of ignoring performance issues, it is always better to work them out as performance is not the sole responsibility of the individual, but also of the manager.