• Leah Norman

When is the right time to start to a Performance Management Process?

None of us are perfect. We all know that.

The trick is knowing where our imperfections lie. They can be difficult to see, unless someone else shows us.

I’ve seen and managed a number of poor performers during my career. There are all sorts. People who are unmotivated or lazy. Some who only work when you’re looking at them closely. And others who lie to try to make others think that they’re actually doing a good job.

When it comes to man­ag­ing poor staff per­for­mance, you need to act quick­ly as the problem does not usually solve itself. And you want to mitigate the risk of "condonement" for allowing poor performance behaviour to continue for too long before addressing it.

It is an often an undesirable but unfortunately necessary task for employers. There are right and wrong ways to address poor performance, and things can go wrong if not handled with care and respect to an individual’s unique circumstances.

If you don’t deal with an underperforming employee urgently, then you are sending a message that this performance or behaviour is acceptable, and it sets a bad precedent for both that individual, as well as the rest of your team. You should try to speak to the employee as soon as practical once the performance issue has come to your attention.

Highlight the fact that the aim of the meeting is to find a solution to any problems, rather than to serve as an opportunity to vent. Listen 80 percent and talk 20 percent. This collective approach will help employees feel valued and part of the company’s development — a morale booster in itself.

Confirm that your employee understands. Don’t proceed until you and the employee are both perfectly clear.

Employ­ees aren’t robots. When you lead a team, you man­age human beings, which means work life isn’t always pre­dictable. Some­times, you’ll be impressed with your team’s over­all per­for­mance and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty lev­els, but oth­er times, poor per­for­mance will rear its ugly head. When this hap­pens, you’ll need a plan of action to turn things around.

In short, the time to address poor performance is early – the first time you are aware of it. This way, the process is much easier for both parties, because there is little “history”. The employee will either pull their socks up and change their ways, hopefully respecting the way you managed the situation, or they won’t.

And if they don’t, then you have started down the fair path to manage the poor performance.

If you are reading this and have a concern with an employee but don’t know where to start, it may be as simple as having a conversation with me to help clarify your thoughts. Drop me a line on 0508 924 357.

Disclaimer This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.