7 steps to improving staff performance

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Disciplinary & Dismissal, Performance

Last time we talked about the 3 reasons that managing staff performance is critical ( NB 10 minutes per day x 5 days x 52 weeks a year = 43 hours per year or over 2% of your payroll cost) and how to assess if the issues is Education, Training or a  Disciplinary

Where to from here?

  1. Reiterate and clarify the rules – to avoid any issues due to lack of understanding
    1. Be specific about:
      1. What the rules are
      1. What the impact of not following the rules are (e.g. other people having to redo work, letting team mates down etc)
    1. Get them to reiterate the instructions back to you in their own words to ensure they truly have understood (check out Understanding Miscommunication and Changing Behaviour  https://www.hrtoolkit.co.nz/hr-document-library/redundancy/understanding-miscommunication-and-changing-behaviour/ as to why they may not
  2. Clarify the standards required – the Assessment Criteria Matrix for assessing Performance is a great tool for measuring “soft” competencies such as Customer focus, work ethic and teamwork, New Business development etc.
  3. Identify the root cause of the issue
    1. Some people are doing the wrong thing, but think they are doing it right – training usually fixes this quickly;
    1. Others may be too embarrassed to admit that they don’t know what to do – a friendly, but honest chat along with a support solution will usually fix this);
    1. Sadly there are a few who just can’t be bothered for all sorts of reasons – Boredom, poor attitude, feeling un-appreciated, issues in personal life etc.  These can be more difficult to resolve, however, by no means impossible, and results can often be amazing
  4. Is training needed?  NB you don’t have to provide training ad infinitum, but you do need to demonstrate that you’re not being unreasonable in your expectations.  You also don’t necessarily need to invest in expensive training courses, some solutions may be:
    1. Re-doing their induction training
    1. Shadowing and colleague for a period to see how they do the job
    1. Providing access to helpdesk and/or instruction manuals
    1. Formal training courses
    1. 1 to 1 coaching – particularly for attitude related issues.

They’re Still not getting it….

Sadly, despite your best efforts, some people still don’t seem to get it, so you need to get formal:

  • Invite them to a formal meeting to discuss performance and lay out, in writing, the areas of concern
  • Set up a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) NB the Assessment Criteria Matrix is a fantastic tool, particularly for softer skills such as customer focus, attitude work ethic and team work etc
  • Meet with them weekly or fortnightly to review progress against the PIP

But they are still not improving….

The next newsletter will be about escalating into the disciplinary process, but in short:

  • At the end of PIP (usually 2 to 3 months), Invite them to attend a disciplinary meeting
  • Subject to consideration of what they have said, you may decide to issue a Disciplinary warning, along with another PIP

Ultimately, it is actually quite rare to dismiss someone as a result of a PIP, the vast majority of people will either pick up their performance or will resign because they don’t like the pressure of the weekly PIP meetings.

How we can help

HRtoolkit has many great tools to help you managing performance and defining your expectations.  Including:

In the next newsletter I will be talking more about how escalate into the disciplinary process, but in the meantime sign-up for HRtoolkit, or give me a call on 021 741 544 if you need pointing in the right direction


Lisa Mackay
Founder HRtoolkit

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