As a business leader, responding to bad conduct and poor performance from your employees is part of the territory. Unfortunately, sometimes significant corrective action, such as pay suspension or dismissal, is necessary. In many circumstances, however, this can be avoided by a few preventative steps.
Identify the Root Problem
If an employee is continuously making the same mistake, maybe something is going on that you’re unaware of — such as fear of the situation, lack of confidence, or a tense relationship with a co-worker. Maybe your operating system isn’t conducive to a simple workflow, and they’re struggling to adapt? Perhaps someone is repeatedly late because they have an ill spouse for whom they’re providing extra care? Maybe it’s a task that is physically tasking for them, and they need help? Whatever it is, identifying the root of the problem — and viewing it as opposed to the employee as the real issue — will help you to have an honest, and compassionate, conversation.
Provide Adequate Training
One common reason for substandard performance and conduct in the workplace is a lack of training and knowledge. It’s essential to clearly and repeatedly reinforce training, procedures, and codes of conduct. If your employees don’t know what’s expected of them, how can you require excellence? How you train and educate your staff is a significant part of your company’s culture. And the culture of the company is what sets the bar for expectation in the workplace.
Give Positive Feedback
One of your most important roles is offering consistent and helpful feedback to your employees. Employees deserve to be informed if there’s a problem with their conduct, and given a chance to change it. Be sure to
- Make it private — pull them aside one-on-one to avoid embarrassment.
- Affirm and praise them for what they’re doing well.
- Don’t make accusations. Ask questions to arrive at an understanding of the situation.
- Be clear about what needs to be changed.
- Discuss the consequences if no change is made.
- Follow up and praise them when they improve or make a change to their performance.
Because your employees are invaluable to your business, focus on fixing the problem. However, your employees work for you, and it’s important they meet the guidelines you’ve created for your company. While taking these preventative steps may lessen the necessity of stronger actions, you may find yourself at a point where you’re looking at more drastic corrective measures. These six factors will help determine if there is just cause for temporary suspension or termination.
- The employee was adequately notified of their behavior.
- Your expectations and standards are reasonable.
- There was a fair, objective consideration in the situation.
- There is substantial evidence of the employee’s conduct.
- Corrective procedures are non-discriminatory.
- The “punishment matches the crime” — the level of response is appropriate to what’s been done.
At Hamilton Connections, we value strong teams, and while we hope you never have to take terminate an employee, we hope that this helped. We believe in placing the right people with the right people from the beginning. We call ourselves Placement Professionals. Call us today, and let’s get started!