Posts Tagged ‘Managing Problem Performance’

Ways to Monitor and Manage Declining Employee Performance

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Do you have a problem employee whose productivity and attitude have noticeably soured?

Donald Trump would just yell, “You’re fired!” But there are other ways to handle the situation.

Confronting an employee whose performance is declining is not something you can put off until tomorrow, because poor performance in the workplace can be contagious and negatively affect the morale and productivity of other employees. No matter how unpleasant or difficult it is, you must talk with the problem employee right away.  Find out what’s impacting his or her personal and/or workplace life.

The personal reasons for an employee’s declining performance can run the gamut, and may include:

  • employee is dealing with a health issue
  • marital or family problems
  • alcohol or drug dependency

Workplace-related reasons for declining employee performance can be just as varied. A few examples are:

  • employee is overworked
  • problems with a manager or coworkers
  • boredom

If the reasons are personal, you must not attempt to counsel the employee unless you are certified in that area as a counselor. You can help the employee gain access to a psychologist or other professional counselor, however.

Have Written, Explicitly Defined Performance Standards

As the typical manager or HR professional, you are qualified to counsel the employee strictly about work-related performance. But before you can establish the fact of poor performance, you must have written, explicitly defined performance standards against which you can effectively measure an employee’s work history. Once both employer and the employee agree that there has indeed been recently unsatisfactory job performance, you can begin to monitor and manage the situation.

Be Ready To Change Your Management Approach To the Problem Employee

A troubled employee may require a different management approach from you than he or she required previously. For instance, an employee who previously exhibited a confident, self-reliant work ethic may need closer supervision and direction for a while, until his or her performance issues become resolved. You will find that problem employees will require more of your support, time and attention.

In an emotionally charged situation with an angry, frustrated employee, you will have to listen carefully, display empathy or at least unbiased understanding, and be ready to help the employee seek a solution to the problem.

If the employee has a true grievance, such as sexual harassment, you must be prepared to take immediate steps to protect the individual and address the legal issues.

It is important to obtain a commitment from the problem employee to agree to partner with you (and others) to correct his or her poor performance. Establish a written plan of action, and set up a series of meetings that will occur regularly until the problem is resolved.

Many good employees may go through periods of poor performance due to a number of factors beyond either your control or theirs. Dealing with declining productivity and poor morale is among the biggest challenges a manager or HR pro will ever face, but if you meet the challenge squarely, objectively and with compassion, it can turn into a win-win-win situation for the employee, you and the company.

For additional information about how you can manage an employee’s declining performance, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: frozenchipmunk

CAI’s June 2011 Training Showcase

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

On Friday, June 24, more than 45 HR professionals and company executives visited CAI’s Raleigh location to attend its June 2011 Training Showcase. CAI’s Training Showcases are free events, held three times a year at the company’s Raleigh and Greensboro offices, and they offer opportunities for company decision makers to gather information on CAI’s diverse training options.

The June event began with CAI’s Director of Learning Services, Colleen Cunningham, asking participants why they decided to attend. Several enthusiastic audience members interjected various reasons, such as seeing the event in CAI’s management newsletter and wanting to help employees improve in their positions.

“Our company is growing, and we need to expand our training, so we wanted to see which programs were best,” said Bonnie Wooten, HR Generalist at Implus Footcare.

Following a brief introduction of CAI’s staff and principal training facilitators, Colleen shared with the audience some of the training services that CAI provides, as well as the organization’s overall education philosophy. The Learning and Development Team members base each of their courses on CAI’s learning model, which includes items to measure learning results, such as self-assessments; defined learning objectives; and interactive exercises, role-plays and case studies. After guests learned how CAI strives to maximize training results, they were free to attend sessions that offered snapshots of what potential participants would expect to experience. Some of the sessions included:

CAI facilitators work to ensure that all of their programs are interactive to keep participants alert and engaged in the information they receive and the activities that they perform. The June 2011 Training Showcase facilitators, Brad Geiger, Maureen Bertolo and Kelly Barefoot, also added passion and expertise to their sessions.

For example, in Maureen’s session Fundamentals of Management Certification Program, she asked all participants to stand up and walk around the classroom to introduce themselves, which involved saying their name, title and company they represented. This activity helped them become familiar with each other while also teaching them that getting to know staff members is an important part of being in management.

Brad and Kelly utilized real-world examples to relate to audience members in their sessions.  Kelly asked her participants in Developing Others Through Coaching to think of great coaches—job, school or sports related—and the qualities that made them effective teachers. This exercise helped attendees discover strategies to grow successful employees.

“Their use of interactive role playing is very effective,” said Janice Willmott, Chief Administrative Officer at Disability Rights NC, when describing the facilitators’ teaching methods.

The following are additional descriptions participants used to characterize the teaching styles of Brad, Maureen and Kelly: energetic, dynamic, knowledgeable, well-informed and efficient. Their teaching approach encouraged participants to interject frequently, ask thought-provoking questions and cooperate in problem solving.

Not only did participants get to sample programs that generally run for two days, but also they received binders full of each program’s key objectives, learning deliverables and main points of discussion.

The evaluations from CAI’s June 2011 Training Showcase revealed that participants obtained a good sense of each session’s layout, and several participants commented that the event exceeded their expectations, making the experience great.

If you’d like to learn more about CAI’s training programs, please visit our website at www.capital.org or contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.