Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Dealing with Performance Problems with your Business

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 11, 2017 6:18 PM

When you manage employees, one of the most difficult situations is dealing with an employee who is having performance problems. You need to get the issue corrected to maximize productivity and efficiency, but if you handle it incorrectly, your actions could have a negative impact on the employee's morale.

Taking the right approach to performance issues will ensure that you get the best results. Follow these steps to more easily deal with every performance issue, whether it's an attitude problem, productivity related or something else.

Get the Facts

Before you talk to an employee about an issue, you need to have all the facts to let them know exactly what the problem is. If the employee has been late coming back from breaks and lunches, record it. If they haven't been meeting goals you've set, have those goals with you, along with the numbers your employee has put up in comparison.

You don't want to be unsure about anything when you talk to the employee because this makes the entire conversation less beneficial. Make sure you stick to those facts, as well, because if you exaggerate them, the employee could feel like they're under attack.

Meet with the Employee Promptly and Privately

You don't want to wait around after there have been performance issues because the incident won't be fresh in the employee's mind when you talk to them. If an employee did something wrong on a task on Monday and you wait until Friday to talk to them about it, they may remember it much differently than you do, and if they think you're wrong in your critique, they won't listen to it. For any serious issues, you should talk to the employee right away.

Now, in some cases, you may want to collect information and establish a pattern of performance issues. For example, talking to an employee about showing up late once is a bit strict. In these situations, it's better to wait for it to become problematic, document the issue and talk to the employee after the most recent occurrence.

No one likes to get reprimanded in front of others. It's best to find a private location to meet with the employee to avoid any prying eyes.

In your meeting, stick to the facts that you collected. Explain your expectation of the employee and how they can improve going forward.

Document Performance Issues

It's crucial that you always document performance issues. Even if you don't write up the employee, you should still make a note in their file about what happened and the action you took.

Maintaining accurate records is always a good habit, but the reason it's so important when an employee has a performance issue is just in case you later need to fire them. Companies typically have the right to fire employees for any time and for any reason that isn't discriminatory, but it's smart to have a record of performance issues just in case you're ever dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Provide Support When It's Needed

If an employee in your IT department seems to keep having problems, try to get to the root of them and see what the cause is. For productivity issues, the employee could just need more training. Or, if the employee isn't able to keep up with their tasks, they may be overworked, which is a sign that you should hire more IT specialists or try outsourcing IT support.

Certain issues, such as problems at home or the employee showing up late due to lack of reliable transportation, will be outside of your control. But you can at least do your best to maximize each employee's chance at success with your company.

Performance issues are no picnic, but taking the right approach with them will result in a much faster and easier resolution. Make sure you have all the facts, meet with the employee, keep written records of everything that happens and support the employee in any way you can. Employees want to succeed just as much as you want them to, and when you work with them to solve problems, you can expect great results.

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