Posts Tagged ‘managing staff’

An Effective Recipe for Managing One-on-One Employee Meetings

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

1_1_meetingCoaching and mentoring employees is a critical part of any Manager’s job. Providing feedback to your direct reports can come in many forms and frequencies. Feedback can be either positive or negative and should always be presented as constructive. In fact, candid and constructive feedback, even if negative, is usually very appreciated by the employee. A Harvard Business Review study found that 57% of employees prefer corrective feedback and 72% say their performance would improve with more feedback.

How often should you meet with each employee?  We recommend at a minimum conducting a monthly 1:1 meeting with each of your employees. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about a regular monthly discussion about employee performance and development goals. I am not suggesting that you should only talk to your employees once a month, as good as that might sound to some of you.

What does the meeting look like?  One good technique is called the five by five. Imagine a sheet of paper that at the top has the employees 4-6 performance goals for the year and their development goals. Then below those goals the employee lists out the five activities they plan to work on over the next month towards accomplishing their annual goal. Then when you meet in 30 days, they first report on progress towards their five planned activities last month, and then they set five more activities for the next month. The manager provides feedback and input. This process repeats every month, forever. For this system to work, you must make it clear that the employee owns their performance, not you the manager, which is another tenet of effective performance management.

Here’s a sample meeting flow to get you started:

  • Begin the meeting with some casual conversation which will tend to relax your employee and get them to converse and open up. A simple “How are you?” or “How is the job going this week?” are good ways to start. Listening to their response may provide you with some insight on how you approach this meeting and about shaping the discussion.
  • The employee reviews progress towards last months five activities and / or development plan. Look for obstacles that got in the way and how / if they overcame them. Look to see if certain tasks are continuing to push out each month.
  • The employee then reviews the five activities they need to achieve next month in order to ultimately accomplish their annual goals / plan. Find out what obstacles stand in their way of accomplishing their activities. Are there processes or procedures which are difficult and or frustrating to work with or cause delays? Ask how you can help to remove these barriers.
  • Talk about alignment of priorities and values between the employee, you and the organization. Be candid about where you see where they are, and comparing it to where they think they are.  Work with them to make adjustments so you align more closely with each other’s expectations.
  • Now that you have discussed the current performance, you may want to review a few long-range goals, initiatives or projects. These may be stretch goals or also working on a cross-functional team.  Both sides should have something to gain by meeting these objectives. Establish checkpoints along the way to ensure these longer-range objectives are staying on track as well.

No one has time to waste in a long unproductive meeting.  Getting in to a regular 1:1 meeting rhythm like we suggest above with employees will help ensure the right items are discussed and we remain focused on the right plans.  Regular feedback goes a long way toward making employees feel valued and ultimately improves your overall employee retention.

Need help giving performance feedback? Check out CAI.

renee

 

CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

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