Posted by on February 15, 2013

As a business owner or manager you will at some point I’m sure have had an employee who you felt just didn’t quite cut the mustard. It may have been one thing about their work or a combination of little things. Or perhaps you just didn’t get on, let’s face it, that happens.

Well, if it comes to the point when you go to hand them their P45 STOP and THINK – Could I have done more? Have I trained them well enough? Is what I’m asking them to do fair in relation to their job spec and level? Are they fully aware of my expectations of them?

If you can answer yes to all those questions then even though you may be right in thinking it’s time to go your separate ways you still need to make sure you’re following the correct procedure before you do so.

Communication is key.

When you have an employee who is not performing, the chances are it is because they don’t understand enough about the job or project or what is expected of them. Or perhaps they’re not confident enough to handle it themselves. It is highly unlikely you’ll employ someone who isn’t performing simply because they are lazy!

Think of it this way. Whenever you hire for a role in your business, you hire the potential not the finished article. Someone with experience should reach that potential quicker, after all they’ve less to learn about the skills needed. But they still have to learn how your business works. They have to settle in to a new environment with new people, they have new expectations of them which they need to adjust to. Of course someone without the experience has all this PLUS the skills of the trade to learn. So, when you take someone on its important to clearly define to them the actual expectations of the job, don’t leave them up to assumption and don’t assume they know them! You also need to ensure that they feel they can communicate any areas of weakness to you, so you can address them with training.

If an employee who has been with you for some time lets their performance drop, before berating them try and find out why it’s happening. Perhaps they no longer feel motivated. Maybe they’re struggling with a new challenge, either way there are things you can do to make sure they rediscover their mojo and get back up to speed. It doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end of their employ with you. Remember, communication is KEY.

If after all that the person is still not meeting expectations then it’s time for a frank chat – do they want to be there? Is this career for them? You may find that you mutually decide it is beneficial for both parties to move on.

If they insist they are in the right job (and company) then it’s inevitably time to start the disciplinary process and set out clear KPI’s for them to achieve – if they do you’re back in business. If not, well at least you tried. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Posted in: Blog