Every business has one ‘problem’ or non-performing employee and if you don’t, I would suspect that you are probably not being completely honest with yourself. It is a competitive world and if you are going to succeed, you not only need to ‘win the war for talent’, you need to retain it. If an individual is consistently not performing you need to move them on – they are in the wrong place if they are in your business!
We are regularly called in to help with a managed termination when everyone has had enough and the relationship is damaged beyond repair, but it doesn’t have to be this way. I often find that when I ask how long Ed has been under-performing, I hear ‘oh, about ten years’. These individuals are not only damaging to productivity but there is a detrimental impact on other employees when they see that nothing is being done about it. If you address non-performance issues early on you are, in 60 – 70% of the time, able to improve the situation.
Here are five ways you can ensure that you keep the best people and move on the employees that are not working out:
- Have current job descriptions – this allows there to be a clear understanding of what is required of employees for them to be successful
- Measure performance – annually or every six months whichever works for your business
- Have a conversation, even the difficult ones – when performance has dropped, act quickly and speak to the employee, telling them what you are seeing and asking them ‘is there a reason for this change in performance?’
- Document the issue – there can never be too much documentation when non-performance is the issue
- Act – don’t be afraid – most business owners feel that they cannot legally manage out individuals but you can, you just need to follow a process
Your business is too precious to have the wrong people working in it. To be honest, in big businesses poor performing individuals can hide to a certain extent, it is diluted but in a small business this impact can be disastrous. Don’t let it happen to you.
Natasha Hawker owns Employee Matters Pty Ltd; an HR Consultancy that assists small to medium businesses with their HR functions to make them more efficient and profitable. Their offering includes HR Management, Recruitment, Training, Coaching, and Exit Management – find them at www.employeematters.com.au