We are working in a world where no one is perfect or equally talented in what he does. So some of us are sometimes left behind while extraordinary and hardworking performers raise the bar to a whole new level. Just because the performer is a little behind doesn’t mean that he is lazy or a bad worker. There are many factors that will determine whether the performer really did perform poorly. There are always simple steps and factors to analyze the true reason of poor performance and how we can change that.
Who is responsible?
Firstly, always make sure who performed badly. Sometimes we hire the wrong people to do the wrong work and blame them for unsatisfactory performance. For example, a secretary is not responsible for assuring that the manager’s computer and documents are properly working and arranged. His/her job is to assist the manager and it is the I.T department’s job to make sure all computers and systems are working efficiently and safely. You can always refer to the job description of a post to know what jobs you are responsible for.
Now that you know who is responsible, figure out the problem. Sales reps are usually dismissed because of not reaching quotas. As a manager we need to be smart and recognize the origin of the problem. Listening is the key here. Allow the employee to make his case and justify poor performance. Sometimes the reasons can be legit. It’s not the rep’s fault the market is falling and people are opting for substitutes of the product, or if the worker was not given specific instructions and training in what his quota really is and how to achieve it. The company must assure that all employees are effectively informed about their goals. Setting up better goals than before is not so easy, we must always figure out a game plan for them in the beginning so that they know what to do. Another key is not to compare the employee with other colleagues. Another rep might just have gotten lucky in filling his quota because one company bought all his supply.
Set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals for the employee. Assigning the employee with immeasurable and unrealistic goals is pointless. Set for them new goals that you know an employee can achieve in a realistic time period.
Now that you have re-assigned the employee and set up new goals for them, you need to re-evaluate the performance. This must be done according to the goals set for them before. Of course any assistance needed would have been provided as discussed by the manager and the employee while setting those goals. If besides such efforts and motivation, the employee fails to reach the new goals, then he/she has failed.
It now comes to down to company policy on what action to take. Most companies tend to dismiss while others provide more guidance and training for poor performers. It all depends on the company policy.
Any manager should always first find the root cause of poor performance and try to change it. Giving on employee can be very de-motivating and stressful for others and sometimes unfair for the poor performer. Reasons for poor performance can be legitimate and all we would need is a little understanding to see that.