Can I fire a poor performer?

01 Mar
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Disciplinary, HR Consultancy, HR Policy, HR Support, Performance Management   |  No Comments

I have had several calls recently from potential clients looking for help managing poor performers. One of my first questions is always “Do you have a documented policy”? “Have you ever told the person they are not performing to the standards you expect”?

In most cases, managers deal with poor performance in one of two ways:

  1.  They scream and shout, they throw the work back at the individual and tell them they have done a rubbish job (usually in stronger language) and they threaten to fire them if they do not improve their performance.
  2. They don’t want to cause a conflict, they don’t say anything to the employee, they redo the work themselves and they wonder why the employee does not learn.

Neither of these approaches is good for your business. They do not resolve the problem and they can have costly consequences. So what should employers do? Here are five top tips:

  1. Have a Performance Management Policy which provides for both positive and negative behaviours
  2. Have regular reviews with all staff and provide objective and constructive feedback
  3. Praise good performance – it is so easy to forget to say “Well Done” when someone has done a good job
  4. Set objectives and measure progress towards these
  5. Have a robust disciplinary policy and process to rely on, should all else fail

Managing employees well is an art and takes knowledge and practice. Many employers know what they want, but enabling employees to achieve it can be harder.

How do you manage poor performance?

Do you reward good performance?
What top tops would you share?

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