Employee performance is a key driver of business success. When staff are working well and achieving, your business can prosper. Likewise, if employee performance is falling behind, so too can key business objectives.
As an SME, you may notice this impact sooner than a larger corporation would. With fewer employees, it can be easier to see the results of their performance, both good and bad.
Monitoring performance, however, has become a bit more of a challenge since the adoption of remote and hybrid working. Some managers have concerns about the productivity of employees who are working from home.
This has led to a rise in employee surveillance, which although increases their visibility to you, doesn’t necessarily solve the problem, and may erode trust.
To understand how well employees are performing, no matter where they are working, a reliable performance management process can help.
Employee performance management
Performance management is incredibly important for both you and your employees. It’s an essential HR function which helps you to give and receive feedback on a regular basis.
Typically, an effective performance management process will include annual or bi-annual staff appraisals, with 121 catchups in between for progress updates.
If you are seeing your team less because of remote or hybrid working, you may want to increase these 121s and book them in now for regular intervals throughout the year.
This provides you and your employees with dedicated time to discuss performance and progress. It is a two-way process, meaning that employees should take an active part in the discussion and be able to give their feedback too. It is an opportunity for them to raise any issues that may be getting in the way of work, or preventing them from meeting the objectives agreed upon in their last appraisal.
If, during these catchups you discover that an employee is not performing as expected, you need to address this.
What to do when an employee is not performing
Addressing poor performance can feel awkward if you don’t have the experience, or if you have formed a friendship with an employee.
Not addressing it, however, and letting it continue, is much worse and can cause bigger problems for you and your business.
If it’s the first time this has happened, seek to understand what the cause may be. Could they need training? Or has something in their personal life thrown them off course? It could even be that their workload is too heavy. A key cause of procrastination is stress.
121s provide the perfect opportunity for such confidential chats and allow you to offer support if needed.
If, though, there is nothing of note affecting them and this is not the first time, explain that agreed objectives have not been met and let them know the impact this is having on the wider team and business.
You don’t want to get caught up in a cycle of excuses, so end the conversation by asking them how they will avoid this next time and check that they understand your expectations.
Your aim here is to change their behaviour to ensure more efficient working habits moving forwards.
HR support when you need it
If you are in a position where you have tried all of the above and an employee is still not performing, this is where a disciplinary procedure can help.
The process involves an investigation and hearings, which is why it’s so important to try to resolve matters through a documented performance management process first.
If you have questions about managing poor performance in your team, or perhaps you have a top performer and want advice on employee rewards and retention, call our Advice Line for a chat.