The first signs are there:
This is the moment you detest; that moment when you question whether to “pull the plug” or not.
It’s a difficult decision because you have spent quite a bit of time recruiting and hiring this employee. There was a round of interviews and you were quite convinced that you made a good hiring decision but unfortunately, your expectations have not been met.
A Question: Employee issue or Employer training?
What to do?
First and foremost is for you to determine where the problem lies.
Employee: Is it an issue with the employee’s lack of commitment (they arrive late, leave early, etc.) or poor work output (the quality of their work is unacceptable; they take too long to execute their job, etc.)?
Employer: Have you provided the appropriate training for this employee and if not is their lack of commitment and poor work output a reaction to something the Company has not provided?
Once you have clarity as to the problem you can take the next steps:
It’s certainly not a pleasant thing to have to do, but you must sit down and speak with the employee about the problem you have with their ”performance”! The best approach is to be as clear as possible.
Clarity is critical and to make certain that there is no miscommunication provide the employee with a document that summarizes the situation, the mutually agreed upon solution and timeline.
While you hope that your “change behavior” conversation will be effective, you should start to explore your other options. These include cross training another employee in the firm so that they can pick up the slack if the underperforming employee is terminated or revisiting your job posting to make certain that the description itself doesn’t need to be tweaked should you need to start the recruiting process again. If you used a personnel agency, you should contact them and alert them that you may need to replace the employee. Having your “ducks in a row” BEFORE an employee leaves or is terminated makes good business sense.
If the problem has to do with the employee’s inferior work output (quality and/or productivity) it’s important to examine the training that they received or the expertise that they said they already had. If the performance gaps can be handled with more training then by all means set this in motion. (Of course this means that in all other areas the employee is desirable.)
It’s important to address these situations early on before they have a chance to fester and grow. And remember while you might “really” want it to work out there will always be situations in which the best option is to terminate the employee and move forward. Sometimes termination is even the best option for the employee too.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.