Employee Performance Issues: Strategies for this Difficult Discussion

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

Employee performance issues. We all dread them and may try to avoid them. The issue becomes the elephant in the room. When you are faced with performance issues with a team member, do you approach it head on or do you avoid having ‘the talk’? Unfortunately, when we avoid or delay these types of conversations, the problem not only remains, but often intensifies. Whether your employee is having attendance issues, performance issues, or relationship issues with his co-workers, addressing these matters up front will save everyone a lot of time and frustration.

Here are a few strategies to consider that will build your confidence when speaking with your employee.

Timely Discussion
Chances are the employee knows there is an issue and that it is a matter of time before he is called out. Delaying is a bad idea for two reasons. First, if you allow the performance issue to persist, productivity and performance will continue to decline and may affect other team members negatively. Second, delaying gives the employee an advantage to prepare his defense or turn the tables on you. You will be in defense mode rather than in control of the conversation.

Be Prepared
Do not ‘wing it’. Come to the meeting with a list of talking points to help keep you on track. Stay focused on the performance issue at hand and make sure you have concrete examples to share. Generalities or opinions do little to help the employee understand how they need to improve and do not offer the type of documentation you may need in court. Focus your discussion on behaviors that can be quantified.

Be Supportive
Your primary goal should be to offer support to the employee and have an open dialog about the performance issue. Let the employee talk and make sure you are listening. He may provide a new perspective. Ensure you set clear expectations on what changes in behavior and performance need to be made going forward.

Discussions related to poor performance are never easy. However, when handled correctly, both you and the employee can walk away from the meeting feeling empowered and positive that you are now moving in the right direction.

Tackling employee performance issues? We can help! Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To read testimonials from other small businesses, and learn more about our services, please visit our website now!

What Employees Want In A Manager

By Jennifer Brown

One reason employees may start testing the waters for new opportunities could be the relationship they have with their direct manager. Managers play a pivotal role in keeping employees productive, motivated, and happy. The company and position could be just what the employee is looking for; however, if their relationship with their manager is not meeting certain needs, all can go south pretty quickly.

Employees typically want their managers to have certain qualities.

Honesty & Trust
Your employees need to feel you are honest with them whether it is related to performance issues, business decisions, or other matters impacting their work. There must be a sense of mutual trust and that they can come to you with an issue without fear of retribution.

Reliability & Responsiveness
Make your employees feel they can count on you for support and that you will provide action in a timely manner when they need it.

Open-mindedness
Be open to discussing new ideas. Nothing deflates passion and motivation quicker than not being able to share ideas and opinions.

Level-headedness
Don’t overreact to situations. Remain calm and sensible and you will see that same poise from your employees when tough situations arise.

Approachability & Availability
A good manager needs to be both approachable and available. Make it easy for your employees to come to you with questions or problems.

Knowledgeable
Your employees must believe that you know what you’re talking about. Make them feel they have an experienced leader in their corner.

Appreciation
Let them know you appreciate their hard work and dedication. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

When the relationship meets these needs, a great manager can be hard to leave. Your employees will be more likely to come to you when they have an issue, eager to come to work, and more productive overall.

Make sure you are giving your employees the best of you to ensure that top talent sticks around to help you grow your organization.

Want to learn more about becoming a great manager? We can help! Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To read testimonials from other small businesses, and learn more about our services, please visit our website now!

How to Retain Your Best Employees

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

The conversation every manager dreads – your top performer just tendered his resignation and has accepted another position. Why did he decide to leave? What could have been done to keep him?

There are several reasons an employee may start to look outside of their organization for new opportunities. He may not feel challenged, appreciated or is unsure of his future with the company. These feelings can prompt an employee to start looking for new opportunities or to finally return that call from the recruiter who has been after him for months. Before that letter of resignation comes across your desk, take steps to ensure that your top talent doesn’t jump ship.

Most of us seek challenging work as well as the opportunity to learn new things each day in order to grow professionally as well as personally. If work becomes monotonous and lacks a certain level of challenge, we may start to look elsewhere for that growth opportunity. As a manager, try using the following methods to spice up your employee’s work:

  • Determine your employee’s strengths and utilize them to the fullest
  • Discover your employee’s untapped skills and find a way to showcase his hidden talent
  • Ask your employee what new skills or opportunities he is seeking and help him find appropriate training
  • Identify internal growth opportunities
  • Offer the chance to work on special projects that differ from day-to-day responsibilities

The nature of someone’s work is not always the reason they exit an organization. However, most employees who feel happy and challenged in the work they do are less likely to proactively look for new opportunities. As their manager, you play an important role in creating an exciting work environment. Make sure it is filled with challenges and opportunities that showcase individual talents. This will keep productivity and morale high and will most certainly have a positive impact your company’s bottom line.

Need help retaining your best employees? We can help! Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To read testimonials from other small businesses, and learn more about our services, please visit our website now!

How Do I Keep My Team Motivated?

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

Over time, employees may lose their motivation. When this happens, the company suffers – productivity and creativity decline and absenteeism and turnover increase. How can you keep their motivation going? Below are a few strategies you can implement to keep your team moving in the right direction.

Get to know what motivates each team member
Different people are motivated by different things. Therefore, designing a “one size fits all” rewards program is challenging to say the least. Depending on an employee’s personality, she may be extrinsically motivated (i.e., promise of monetary compensation, tangible rewards) or intrinsically motivated (i.e., desire to succeed for its own sake or to be recognized as effective by her peers). Discover how to effectively motivate each person on your team.

Create a motivating environment
Reward programs can be effective; however, there must be a solid foundation to build upon. Employees are often seeking exciting work, open communication from management, and a sense that they are appreciated both professionally and personally. As their manager, make sure you address these needs first.

Develop rewards that work
Once you have a solid foundation, adding in a rewards program can really bolster your team’s motivation. Design a rewards program that:

  • Has a good mix of both extrinsic rewards (i.e., cash, PTO, gifts) and intrinsic rewards (i.e., simple ‘thank you’, recognition in a staff meeting, write-up in company newsletter) to reach both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated employees
  • Delivers on what is promised
  • Clearly outlines what behaviors are needed to achieve success
  • Supports your company’s core values

Whether it is a cash bonus or a shout out at your next team meeting, be sure to make your employees’ motivation a top priority. When your team is motivated to succeed, everyone wins!

Want to create a motivating environment for your team? We can help! Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To read testimonials from other small businesses, and learn more about our services, please visit our website now!

Are Companies that Value Employees More Successful?

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO PeopleTactics

Did you know…

According to a Gallup study, only 3 out of 10 workers are engaged — meaning committed to or enthusiastic about their work.

Gallup estimates that actively-disengaged employees cost U.S. business up to $550 billion a year in lost productivity.

Stock in Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” way outperformed both the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 indices

 

As you can see, engaging workers is critical to your business success. Engagement can take many forms but often it starts with:

• Creating trusting relationships with your team members
• Treating them fairly
• Seeking their input
• Valuing their contributions

Engaged employees lead to increased productivity, better servicing of client needs, higher quality work, fewer HR issues, and ultimately, employees who want to go the extra mile to make your company successful.

Need help making sure that your employees feel valued and are engaged? We can help! Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To read testimonials from other small businesses, and learn more about our services, please visit our website now!

Setting Performance Expectations with Your New Hire

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

To avoid performance issues, it is best to set clear expectations of what success looks like during a new hire’s first week on the job. This is best accomplished with several one-on-one meetings with the new hire and her manager. When performance expectations are clear from the beginning, the new employee has a greater likelihood of success in her role and can start adding value to the organization faster. During your new hire’s first week, set aside uninterrupted time to discuss the several important topics

 

Company overview
Provide a brief, general overview of the company and your department’s goals, why those goals are in place, and how they support the organizational goals as a whole.

Performance expectations
Review the new hire’s job description together and discuss the core abilities on which she will be evaluated. Identify existing strengths as well as areas for development. Ensure she understands how her goals relate to the organization’s objectives. Collaboratively establish goals for the next 30, 60, and 90 days and create a schedule for reviewing progress and performance toward those goals.

Build trust
Show your new hire you are invested in her success. Ask questions such as “What do you need to be successful?” or “What resources and support can I provide to ensure your success”.

Taking the time to discuss performance expectations up front may avoid having performance-related issues arise in the future. Not only will this initial dialog get your employee started off on the right foot, but it will also help build a trusting foundation for the employee/manager relationship.

Need help setting performance expectations with your new employee? We can help! Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To read testimonials from other small businesses, and learn more about our services, please visit our website now!