Why won’t some employees just do their jobs? New managers in particular may struggle with this issue.
Most employees need more than the opportunity to carry out their assigned job functions. But too often, managers assign and walk away, assuming the work will be carried out as they envisioned, but haven’t adequately communicated. Sometimes blame and punishment are used as methods of correction.
In these contexts, employees are often inefficient – having to learn by trial and error. They are also often hesitant to innovate in their jobs lest they make punishable mistakes, and are ultimately de-motivated to perform at other than an under-the-radar level.
Improvement doesn’t just happen. And ignoring a performance issue is harmful because poor performance is reinforced each time it is repeated and will influence the work and outlook of others.
All employees can benefit from manage- ment interventions in which expectations and performance standards are discussed and clarified. It is important that managers work with employees to develop agreed- upon performance objectives.
Then managers must use these agree- ment points in evaluating employee performance, and in establishing future performance goals.
Managers should always document their evaluations and other salient interactions with employees, but this is particularly important with poor performers.
And what if the employee still doesn’t perform as expected? It’s up to the manager to determine if the employee has the requisite skills and abilities to meet job demands. Training and observation will help determine this. If performance is variable, the problem may be lack of motivation. Again, the manager must make this assessment and attempt to find the cause.
Managers must take the lead in identify- ing and handling poor performers for the sake of the productivity and morale of all employees.
Essential approaches include engaging in two-way honest discussion of the issues; communicating a desire to assist the employee in getting back on target with performance; and determining if organizational roadblocks are inhibiting performance.
“But I’m just not confrontational.”