At just about every company, even after careful hiring, training and motivation, а few employees emerge who simply don’t meet minimum standards. We’d like them to go away, but they usually don’t. The hang around making you and everyone else miserable.
Warning: Even though you can tolerate some of this, doing so is demotivating and undermining your star performers. Eventually, your good employees will follow suit and slow down. Worse yet, they’ll quit. That poor performer is costing you much, much more reduced productivity.
You can do something about this, and you can do it in a way that will build trust and respect among the employees you want to stay.
Give those poor performers а PIP (Performance Improvement Plan). One of two things will happen: (1) The employee will get better and come up to standard, or (2) they’ll leave. Both are acceptable outcomes. Here’s how to do it:
1. Quantify the issues
Employees who are not performing usually know it but many of them don’t know the specifics of what they’re doing wrong. It’s best for managers to describe the poor performance. It might help to ask yourself, “What do I want this employee to do differently?” These things are usually quantifiable and specific. “Get to work on time” is а simple example. You can count and record how many days that person arrives late.
2. Be F.A.I.R.
I love this acronym. It stands for “feedback, assistance, involvement, respect.”
When you talk to the employee about the issues, give them the quantifiable feedback you’ve compiled in step No. 1. Ask them if there’s any kind of assistance they need in order to accomplish the changes. Unless asked, some employees may be afraid to say they need more training or they need a better tool to do the work.
Involve them in the solution. Ask them to describe what they’re going to do about it. Demonstrate respect by focusing on the individual’s behavior, not the person themselves.
3. The written warning
If step No. 2 doesn’t get results, be prepared to put it in writing. Write а letter to the employee describing the performance in need of improvement. Define the expected results in а quantifiable way. Note dates when the issue will be reviewed again and when the problem should be entirely resolved. Sign the letter. Give it to the employee in person. Get them to sign the letter indicating they understand the directive.
This will either get their attention and they will change their behavior, or you will be documenting their way out the door. Timely feedback, action on promised consequences and consistent application are the keys to success.
4. Fire them!
Now that you’ve done all this, and still see no improvement, terminate them quickly. While firing someone is hard to do, delaying the action only compounds the damage. More often than not, poor employees are relieved when they’re fired because it forces them out of а situation that they know was not а good fit.
Remember: no law or government agency can force you to employ someone who does not meet the standards for the position. Document the problem in an objective and unemotional way.
Studies show that top performers in nearly every business out-produce low performers by anywhere from 200 to 900 percent. Imagine the bottom line effect on your organization if you replace one poor performer with а star. There’s no stopping the success you can achieve by elevating the quality of your workforce.
About Kellie Boysen – Owner, Alternative HR:
Kellie Boysen is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with more than a decade of HR experience. She owns Alternative HR, a local human resource consulting and outsourcing organization that is dedicated to providing small business owners with an affordable alternative to hiring a full-time HR professional.