So, you just completed another round of employee appraisals, and one or more employees are not performing as well as you would like them to. The next steps you take are important, and they depend on the reasons why the employee isn’t achieving their goals.
Communication The first step to take in improving an employee’s performance is to understand why they are underperforming. Depending on the root of the issue, flexibility may be needed, such as when dealing with personal issues. Avoid any assumptions about why an employee is not completing their tasks. If they are dealing with private issues that are affecting their performance, emphasize that the lines of communication between HR and the employee are open.
Perhaps there are roadblocks within the work environment that are preventing the employee from functioning at optimal capacity. Ask the employee if you can help enable them to do their job more easily. Do they need tools that the company can provide? Do they need more quiet? Do they need greater support from interdepartmental contributors to their projects? Learn what you and the organization can do to enable your employees to peak performance.
Training When understanding why an employee is underperforming, be mindful of their skill level and training. Many times, employees that lack the proper resources or experience to complete a task will still “do their best” at achieving the goal. Point out that asking questions is welcome, especially in situations where the employee is uncertain of what is needed from them.
Also remember that training does not end at onboarding! Manage employee performance, but also encourage their growth. Ask what areas they would like to grow in and how that might enhance their performance in their current role or provide growth to another area of the organization.
Job Description Occasionally, an employee’s job description may not match their appraisal. Check to make sure that they do match to avoid misunderstandings of what is expected of them, and specify tasks that should be completed based on the description. Set clear goals for the employee to obtain so that not only do they know that they are doing a great job, but you do too!
Customize the Appraisal Process Individualize the approach you take to your employees’ performance reviews: an appraisal method that works best for one person may not be the right style for another. For instance, one employee may learn best with a one-on-one meeting with you, while others may prefer a scale rating, or even peer reviews. This individualization goes for touching base for goals as well! Know your employees' work style and what they need to complete their projects; some may need check-ins more often, while others are okay with just an overall deadline to ensure completion. A great leader is aware that most employees work differently and tailors their management style accordingly.
Morale This is where feedback from your employees comes into play the most: if the employee feels undervalued and unsupported, their job performance may falter. Unsurprisingly, employees who are happier with their work environments generally perform better than those who are unsatisfied. Foster a positive work environment and thereby empower your employees to do their job well. Make sure that your employees know that they are constantly appreciated. After all, without them, your business couldn’t function.