Tip #993: Why Employees Don’t Perform- and What to Do About It- Part Two

In Part One, we considered whether there were system barriers (Step #1) or circumstances beyond the employee’s control (Step #2) that interfered with the employee’s ability to meet performance standards. Only after taking these two steps is it appropriate to move on to the last considerations in Step #3.

Step #3. Determine if this poor performance is due to the employee.

Is the employee unable to perform the duties? If so, schedule a medical examination. If the employee is incapacitated, there are at least five possible options: (1) have the person take sick or medical leave; (2) provide accommodation: purchase furniture or special equipment; change hours; reassign duties; (3) reassign to a position at a comparable level; (4) discuss the possibility of a demotion; or (5) have the employee retire, possibly on disability.

If the employee is not incapacitated, move on to the next consideration.

Did the employee choose not to perform up to standard? If so, (1) counsel the employee regarding nonperformance; (2) set up remedial standards and a monitoring schedule; (3) coach, monitor and provide feedback in accordance with that schedule; and (4) determine if the employee now performs up to standard.

If the employee is now performing up to standard, recognize the improved performance and continue to monitor and provide feedback on an appropriate established schedule.

If not, begin the progressive discipline process.

Following the first two steps will help managers and supervisors ensure that all of the necessary organizational and system supports have been provided. Only if the organization can show that it has done everything in its power to set the employee up for success, then should the employee be individually held accountable for poor performance.

If employees are performing poorly, we look first at the system, which in many cases means that we look at their supervisor or manager. If they have not taken the steps outlined in Step #1, that indicates the need for the supervisor or manager to build performance management skills. Meet with me to discuss how to set everyone up for success.

May your learning be sweet.


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