Reasons Why Poor Employee Performance May be YOUR Fault (Part II)

Last week I discussed one reason why poor employee performance may be the leaders fault. The following are two additional reasons that employee performance may suffer and what you can do about it.

Expectations are Not Clearly Defined

Our experience has shown that across different industries people are hired but the results that are expected from these new employees are not clearly defined. In most companies the on-boarding process is weak and inconsistent. Employees are hired and expected to navigate this process on their own. The results are many times disastrous and expensive.

Consider these examples of expectation misalignment. Many of the companies we work with have expectations of Business Development but fail to explain the parameters or the numbers they are expected to achieve. Can you imagine expecting an employee to generate $100K of business but not telling them? Or, an employee is expected to work until a certain time each day but they were never informed? That actually happened in one company we worked with. There was an ‘unwritten’ rule that employees would stay until 6 PM or later. This new employee was not informed of that rule and it caused a lot of tension between the partners and the team. If that is an expectation — tell the person when you hire them and secure their buy-in to that requirement.

It really is true, people tend to live up or down to our expectations of them. The problem comes into play when they don’t know what these expectations are. They will either struggle to find their way and their performance will suffer OR they will soon leave for another job that provides that structure and support. Don’t make any assumptions that your employee knows what you expect. Clearly define these expectations and performance will adjust accordingly.

Accountability is Non-Existent

Another scenario is when the right person is hired and the expectations are clearly defined but the person is not being held accountable for their results. If they are expected to generate $50K in Sales each month and they never meet that goal and there is no consequence for not doing so – it says something about YOUR management NOT their failure to perform. If you delegate a task to be performed, follow up to ensure that it is completed.

I often hear leaders worry they will be viewed as micro-managing employees if they follow up too often. Ironically, employees often view supervisors ‘checking in’ as support and it can motivate them to keep moving. Of course, the follow up should be done from the perspective of trusting their ability and commitment to do what is required and not with the assumption they aren’t ‘getting it’.

When a company hires a new employee, it is their responsibility to provide them with the resources to be successful. This support could be in the area of training, equipment, staff support or moral support. As a leader, you are as good as your people. If your people are not performing, it is a reflection of your leadership. There will always be low or non-performers that need to be addressed or relieved.  But, if you consistently have low performance you must first look at yourself before blaming others for their low motivation or ability.

All three of these are easily corrected – it simply involves hiring the right people, clearly communicating expectations and holding people accountable. You’ll find that you will feel better about your own leadership. Your employees will feel they are being supported and encouraged to grow and develop. Another large fringe benefit is employee loyalty. Employees want to be proud of the companies that employ them – you feel better when the standard is high and you meet or exceed it.

If you would like a complimentary consult to discuss how to increase your likelihood of hiring and keeping the best and brightest talent please call us at 770.377.0216!

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