February 11, 2016
Watching a political show the other day, I thought I heard that only two teachers were terminated in the entire state of California last year. I tried (not much effort I admit) to check the stats and could not confirm either way, but it inspired me to write this article.
I love teachers! I think that teachers (and nurses) are angels sent fro
m heaven! Teachers and nurses that are efficient and caring, of course.
I can’t IMAGINE that every teacher, except 2 in the entire State of California is an excellent match for that job. Can you? So why are the poor performers still working?
Helping poor performers save their jobs is one of my passions, IF AND ONLY IF the save, is transforming performance. We cannot expect to provide a great service to anyone with poor performers. I have no use for any company or system that allows incompetent people remain on the job. I hope you agree.
There are many reasons for poor performance, and when assessing these employees, we should have an open mind and a helping heart. We often see great people in the wrong position. If they are great, but just in the wrong position should we replace them? Below are just a few of the reasons employees perform poorly, and my position on solutions you might choose to consider:
1. The right guy, but bad fit
For example, if someone hates to be around people, but they are highly motivated back office types we just can’t put them in a role working in hospitality and expect them to succeed. That does not mean they are not great people, it says they are the wrong fit for that job. Find out what your employees strengths and passions are, and you will dramatically raise your chances for a successful match. And by the way, if you don’t replace mismatched employees, be assured they will quit even if they quit and stay. (Ouch!) There are things that we can do to help these people, but keeping them in the wrong role is not one of them.
2. They don’t understand their responsibilities
In my years of executive experience, we saved more employees just by revisiting policies and training. What happens if your expectations are unclear, and you fire someone? You will hire someone else that will also fail: and repeat that dance over and over again. And remember this, even if they did learn there is the learning curve. Keep checking in to be sure the new knowledge is retained. No time to do that? Well, think about how much longer it takes to start over and over and over. Watch how great that employee you were ready to terminate performs if you provide the means! Providing the tools to do the job is an essential function of YOUR job.
3. Kindness and gratitude
Our employees are gold! We need them. Whether they are making our product, or they are the person working directly with our customer, or providing support – their work is representing us, and we must show gratitude and appreciation. And WE are not just YOU. That front line supervisor is ” the company ” to an employee. Respect the need to select the right leaders, and continually develop them, or your business will suffer. Treat people with dignity, fairness, and respect to significantly improve your chance of a supportive team!
4. Lack of performance measurement and accountability
People do more of what is measured, period! And, if people are not held accountable we send a clear message that performance is not necessary. Consistent accountability and ongoing measurement of performance can also reduce the chance of (or the perception of) terminating for discriminatory reasons. Measure performance, help people who are not making it, and replace those that can’t keep up with your standards, and always remember to celebrate successes.
Don’t be on autopilot ! (We have a blog about that, so please do read it). Don’t believe things are great because you think they are. We need to talk, survey, assess, review and tweak on an ongoing basis. Success takes more than the boss. It takes a team, on the same train, moving in the same direction. Let your team help you. They will be honored to know you believe in them.
Many issues can affect your decision to terminate or not terminate. And anytime you can save an employee (who is productive) is a big win. “Uge” as Bernie Sanders, or “YUGE”, like Donald Trump would say!
It is pie in the sky to think we can save everyone; make everyone happy including company owners and investors; and ensure customers are raving fans. Or is it? All I am asking you to do is CONSIDER all three parties. Do your best to find a win for all, and you will make better decisions
if you have a problem child that you would like help with, call us! We can help with strategy that just might be that win-win-win.
Win-win-win: Three parties, 3 wins, very powerful!
Special note: Parone Group does not provide legal advice. My experience is from a management perspective consistently accomplishing exceptional results. It is always recommended to get your HR department and attorney involved where applicable.