The best strategy for staffing your small business is to know how to hire the right people. Still, from time to time, problems with employee productivity do still arise and success will depend on your thoughtful management of the issue. If you are a manager who is looking for optimal performance from your employees, it pays to understand what makes them better. A lot of money and time can be spent on improving performance through training and coaching methods, while simply understanding how to communicate with, motivate and manage your employees will go a long way.
Approach the Employee About the Problem
Your employee is never going to improve unless she knows what the issue is. Have a sit down meeting and talk about what you have seen and where improvement needs to take place. Good communication with employees will ensure that they can strive toward making the positive gains you want to see. In fact, communication is critical no matter what aspect of the business you are thinking of. Communication and commitment are keys to success!
Make a Plan
Have some sort of concrete plan that your employee can use in order to get better. If there is an issue with attendance you can arrange for a wake up call, or maybe carpooling to work in the morning. Perhaps there is an alternate route your employee can take to work, or perhaps a more flexible schedule would be beneficial for the employee. Whatever the issue is, make a plan to get the employee to overcome that issue.
You have to be able to follow through with your employee just as much as the employee needs to actually follow through. Tracking progress is sort of like car insurance in that you do a little more each month until you have paid the entire car insurance premium. If the employee feels like you don’t care, or aren’t watching anymore, it could be taken as a sign that improvement would just be in vain, or that nothing will come from showing improvement. This could be a major step backwards for your employees, and for the whole team in general.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Make sure that your employee knows that the door is always open and that you can be approached at all times. Allow other managers to be able to talk about issues that your employee might be having. The more resources that an employee has, the better off that employee is going to be.
You never want to stifle the opinions of an employee and you never want to make an employee feel like issues cannot be brought up or explained. That is one sure fire way to encourage that your employee regresses instead of improves.
As your employee progresses throughout her career, it is important to provide feedback so that she knows where she stand in regards to how much progress is being made. An employee who has no idea if she is doing what she needs to is just as bad as the employee who has the serious issue in the first place. The employee who always comes in late might not know how you feel about his progress unless you provide feedback.
If progress is satisfactory, let your employee know that he is doing a good job and that you notice. As childish as it might seem, we all need feedback to allow for positive reinforcement so that we continue with the proper behavior.
Final Follow Through
Set a target date for when the problem should be corrected and what the consequences are for not accomplishing your goal. Have a final meeting and talk about the things that the employee did well to accomplish the goal and things that could have been done better.
If your employee is showing effort, it should be noted and the she should be considered a work in progress, like all employees ideally should be. If the employee does not try enough, she should be let go, or should be reported to other management for a final decision on their status.
Note that the example given above was for an employee that needed to show improvement to save their job, but it can be used for a good employee as well. Perhaps you want to push someone to do better so that they can be promoted to management, or so that they can be groomed to reach their full potential elsewhere.
Whatever side of the fence that employee falls on, these six steps will ensure a higher level of accomplishment in the workplace.