Clients have had a rash of issues lately with performance challenges with their employees. The biggest problem that I have seen with this is that employers become “frozen” when this happens. They are not sure what to do. So, I want to provide some simple advice.
For all performance, whether good or bad, timely feedback is what is best. Don’t wait to either correct an issue or give a pat on the back. By linking your response to the performance, the feedback is more powerful. In particular with poor performance, it is best to get it corrected right away. If it is not, then the employee assumes that what they have done is okay and may do it again. So if you want to make sure that things are done right in the future, make sure that you fix the problems today. The same is true of great performance. You want people to know that you noticed and appreciate great work. That way they know to repeat it in the future!
The second piece of advice is to be specific. Don’t be general and say you are doing good or bad. Tell them exactly what is wrong and tell them what you want them to do instead. This removes the person from the equation. You are talking about their action, not about them as people. Again when you are specific about good performance, you can demonstrate how they have stood out from the crowd. Your employees want your feedback. If you want them to remain, then give it to them straight. This is one reason it is easier to manage Sales than most other things. In Sales, it boils down to quota. It is a cold number and you either met quota or you didn’t. See how specific that is and how easy it is to talk about. If you and your employee could judge their performance based on a number that you both agreed to, it would be easy to give performance reviews right?
Finally if it comes time that somebody needs to exit, don’t make it a surprise. You want to have a trail of written evidence that you have worked to try to change the employee’s work to suit your needs. That way they will not have a leg to stand on if they retain an attorney. It is cheaper to settle than to go to court even in an At Will employment State. It is even less expensive to document performance so that people do not have a leg to stand on.
Have a great day!
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