You were so excited about your new hire. The interview was great; the first two weeks were fabulous! You couldn’t believe your luck. Your new employee went overboard to learn everything and get it done. And now that person is underperforming and undermining the morale of the rest of the team. So now what?
Check out the problem. You may think it’s one thing, but in reality it is something else. Investigate the issue with your employee before jumping to conclusions.
Be clear. Spell out exactly what you want the person to do. “You need to make this many calls daily.” “These reports must be done by this date, and completed in this way.”
Spell out consequences. When you sanction incompetence, you enable bad behavior. It demotivates the rest of the team. If you’re not going to do anything about what’s happening or not happening, then why should the rest of the team perform well? Employees who are not performing up to par need to know what will happen if they don’t step up their game. “We want you to do well. This is what doing well looks like. If you can’t do it, then this is the action we will take.” Be sure to check with Human Resources about options available, especially if firing is the end choice.
Provide support. The employee who is struggling may be feeling overwhelmed or unsure. Be sure they have the resources they need, including instructions, procedures, and mentoring or coaching. Sometimes life happens. People get sick, go through divorces, have family problems. Work suffers. If this is happening, it’s okay to give the employee a little slack with the expectation that their work will improve in a few weeks. Show compassion by helping them access support they might need. But, be firm about your expectations for now and for the future.
Follow through. Do what you say you will do! This is the tough part of leadership, but it’s also what employees are looking for in a leader. They want to know there are boundaries and that everyone will be held accountable.
Let them fly free. It’s never pleasant to have to let someone go. It might be to another department or project within the company that fits the skills of the person more closely, or leaving the company all together. But, it is in the best interests of both the employee and the company. Hanging onto the employee keeps them from doing what they were really created to do, and keeps the company from hiring the person whose skills really fit the job.
Hire intentionally. Check out your hiring process. The key to getting people to do their job is to hire the right people in the first place.
It’s never easy to deal with employees who aren’t working up to speed. If you’re struggling with what to do next, or would like to tighten your hiring process, contact Joy at Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.
About Joy Humbarger
Joy, CEO and founder of Maximize Your Leadership, is considered to be one of Kansas City’s leading trainers and coaches on the ONE thing that changes everything! With more than 30 years of experience in the education and leadership fields, Joy is an expert in transforming mindsets to achieve better business results. She is the author of “Coaching the F___!! Out of Change,” a chapter in The Change11, a national collection of tips and stories to empower others to take their leadership to the next level. She provides individual and group leadership coaching. To schedule a training, workshop or consultation with Joy, email Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.