How to deal with underperforming staff

  • Do you have staff in your business who are not performing the job to the level that you are paying them to?

  • How much time do you spend managing staff who aren’t doing their job properly?

  • Have you ever thought on how this effects your business?

Research states that managers spend more than a quarter of their time managing staff members who don’t perform.

Costly mistakes, the loss of customers, and the loss of experienced staff have the potential to negatively impact on you and your business and therefore are too important to ignore.

Dealing with an employee who is underperforming is unfortunately something that as a manager or employer, you will have to face throughout your career. Poor performance can affect productivity, bring down the morale of the rest of the team and affect the overall goals of your business. Therefore, no doubt, when presented with this situation, you’ll want to deal with it right away.

While this is something that happens in most workplaces, there is definitely a right and wrong way to go about the situation. So with this in mind, here, Julie Pollock from Consult HR shares the most effective ways to deal with underperforming staff.

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Get to the source of the problem

Often, there is a reason an employee is making multiple mistakes or doesn’t seem to be putting in the effort anymore, so begin by questioning what the cause could be. Are they overwhelmed by their workload? Are they experiencing difficulty prioritising? Could they benefit from more training? Or, is there a personal reason for their lack of enthusiasm at work?

Prepare to give feedback

It’s important to plan your meeting with the employee in question so that you can offer feedback, which will hopefully lead to improvement. Before the meeting, gather as much evidence and material as possible, so that you have all the facts to hand in order to be specific. Choose a time to sit down together, rather than airing your grievances in the heat of the moment, especially in front of other employees. Be clear about the key messages you wish to get across and how a resolution can be reached.

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Deal with underperformance sooner rather than later

If you don’t deal with an underperforming employee sooner rather than later, you are delivering the message that what they are doing is okay. Furthermore, other members of staff may believe that their behaviour is acceptable and follow suit. During the meeting, highlight the fact that the aim of the discussion is to find a solution, rather than as an opportunity to vent. It is also worth highlighting some positive attributes of the employee so that it isn’t an entirely negative experience.

Make your expectations known

While from time-to-time there will be employees who don’t take a role seriously and try to get away with doing as little as they can, most people don’t deliberately set out to under perform. Poor performance can arise as a result of someone not being 100 per cent clear on what exactly is expected of them. In this instance, it is important to make the expectations of the role known. Be clear on boundaries, who they are responsible for reporting to, any targets they must meet and timelines for outstanding tasks. Ideally, this show be made known to an employee as soon as they join your company. Furthermore, regular appraisals are key for keeping staff motivated and productivity levels high.

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Offer feedback on performance not personality

Unfortunately, we won’t like and respect everyone we work with over the years. There will be personality clashes and we won’t enjoy spending time with everyone, but this should not impact on your view of an employee’s performance. If a staff member falls into this category, make sure you are offering feedback on their work only. It is vital that your personal opinion of them does not impact your view of their work, especially if they are hitting targets and performing well.

Learn what motivates your employees

It’s worthwhile noting that different things keep different people motivated. Ideally, you should regularly get to know your employees, and specifically, their long term goals and aspirations, and what you can do to better support them.

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Reward improvement

A great habit to get into, is following up with underperforming employees to review their progress. For those who have made improvements, give credit where credit is due. Rewarding their change in attitude is a surefire way to ensure they continue to meet your expectations and take pride in the job at hand.

We are here to help

If you are experiencing difficulties with underperforming employees, help is at hand. If underperforming employees are causing you some problems, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or julie@consulthr.co.uk to discuss further.

Love is in the air; potential problems with workplace romances

Is love in the air in your workplace? As an employer have you ever thought of the problems associated with workplace romances? Here, we get to the heart of the topic by looking at how to effectively deal with relationships in the office.

A survey conducted by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), revealed that 41 per cent of office workers have experienced a romantic relationship in the workplace. With figures higher than a lot of us probably expected, this topic definitely deserves discussion.

Here, we reveal the potential problems that can arise as the result of workplace romances and how to effectively deal with them.

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A ban is a no-no!

While as an employer you may deem it appropriate to have an all-out ban on personal relationships at work, this is both unrealistic and a breach of the Human Rights Act. A blanket ban on romantic relationships is likely to aggravate employees, fuel the relationship and create friction between the employer and employee, not to mention the potential law suits that could arise.

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Make it clear

Having a clear policy will ensure that everyone knows exactly where they stand. In the policy, define what you deem as “inappropriate conduct” in the workplace, which could lead to disciplinary action. It is also worth outlining a broad ban on “intimate behaviour” while at work, such as kissing, holding hands or touching. The employer is also within their rights to ensure couples keep communications at work, strictly professional, which extends to electronic communications. For example, sending and receiving emails, should not focus on subjects which are not related to work. Employees should be made aware that management have the right to monitor such exchanges and intervene if necessary.

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Talk is cheap

Often the biggest worry about workplace romances is the exchange of information between the two parties. Employees should be made aware that it is a breach of their contract to share confidential information. This extends to discussing the proceedings in meetings, staff changes or other commercially sensitive information. Again, this is an area which can be outlined in the company’s policy, highlighting that discussing confidential matters with a partner can lead to disciplinary action.

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When love becomes heartbreak

The breakup of a work relationship often has the biggest impact on the workplace. When relationships turn sour, this can lead to a feeling of unease between the two individuals involved with the impact being felt by the rest of the workplace. And of course, not forgetting the headache it can give a manager! In order to deal with this effectively, having a rule in your policy, which states that employees should inform management if there is a change in their personal relationship, can help with this. Notifying employers gives management time to address any potential problems early, as well as reminding employees of what is expected of them in the workplace, in light of the separation.

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Refrain from playing cupid

It’s worth bearing in mind, that sexual harassment can take a wide variety of forms. In the employment tribunal case of Craddock v Fontoura t/a Countyclean, the business owner’s behaviour was deemed as sexual harassment after he frequently suggested that a male and female colleague should form a relationship. Despite honourable intentions, the employer’s need to play cupid between staff was unwelcome.

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In summary, office romances aren’t always hearts and flowers. Employees are entitled to a private life, and employers should only interfere when this has a direct impact on the workplace. Consult HR can help you with your staffing problems. If you need help with this, contact one of our HR experts on 078 5808 9006 or get in touch here.

Top HR tips to beat the January blues in the workplace

This month, keep morale and productivity high, thanks to our top HR tips to beat the January blues in the workplace.

Whether it’s fact, or a mere fragment of our imagination, this year, so-called Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year –  falls on the 15th of January. Christmas is but a distant memory, the credit card bills have arrived and that next holiday seems an eternity away. All of this can leave your workforce feeling a little sluggish, which is turn can see a decrease in productivity. So what steps can you take to keep the office a hive of activity? Here are our top 10 HR tips to beat the January blues in the workplace…

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TIP #1: A survey by Investors in People revealed that 44% of employees questioned said that a welcome back from bosses would increase their motivation. So on a Monday morning, kick start the working week by showing an interest in employees’ weekends; the perfect way to boost morale.

TIP #2: There’s no denying that staff like to feel part of the company and in the loop. A weekly company newsletter is the perfect way to communicate new year wishes and set out plans for a great year ahead.

TIP #3: No doubt after the festive period, staff will be keen to book their next holiday. You may find that you are inundated with holiday requests after Christmas and rather than increasing stress levels and fobbing staff off, ensure you have a good holiday request process in place. Dealing with holiday requests swiftly will make sure staff feel valued, which in turn will affect their productivity and work quality.

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TIP #5: Don’t forget to acknowledge staff who have worked antisocial or additional hours over the festive period. Let’s face it – no one likes working when others are on holidays so ensure this is highlighted at their next appraisal.

TIP #6: January is the perfect time to set out your plans for the year. A recent survey revealed that 47% of UK workers are looking to change jobs in 2018. The main reason? Poor management was citied by a huge 49%. With this in mind, communication is key to retaining staff. It’s a great idea for line managers to sit down with staff to discuss the key role they play in the success of the business and how the work they carry out meets this. This should be a two-way conversation, allowing the employee to contribute their objectives too.

TIP #7: The come-down after the festive season brings with it increased stress levels and lower moods. Evidence links physical exercise to good mental health so ensure your employees can get out at lunchtime. A quick walk in the fresh air can do wonders for a person’s mood and in-turn, help them regain their focus for the afternoon’s work. And when it comes to breaks, encourage staff to take theirs away from their desk. So many people are guilty of eating while they work so ensure your office boasts a welcoming staff room, canteen etc, so staff have a place of respite to escape to for a few minutes each day.

TIP #8: Give praise where praise is due! During a time when moods are low, the easiest way to pick staff up is by telling them you appreciate the good job they’re doing. Acknowledging hard work is an instant mood booster and staff will be keen to keep the momentum going!

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TIP #9: Assess employee training needs for the year ahead. Learning and self development go hand-in-hand and are the perfect staff incentive, with both the employee and the employer benefiting. Encouraging learning and development of skills increases staff retention levels and motivation.

TIP #10: Be stress-aware! Post-Christmas blues, changes in staff, performance reviews and new goals for the year ahead can trigger stress in staff. Promote an open discussion on stress in the workplace, offering advice to staff on stress management, which they can use to their advantage. Plus, ensure managers and supervisors are aware of the symptoms of stress and how best to approach it.

If it suits your business, give flexible working hours some thought. A flexi hours system can help reduce stress and has been shown to increase productivity in the workplace.

This January, use these top tips in your workplace to keep moods and productivity high.