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11 ways to determine what's affecting your employee's performance

by , 30 January 2014
Do you have an employee who's just not performing? You can't just fire him! Use these 11 ways to first to determine the underlying reasons behind you're his poor performance.

Want to fire your employee because he's not performing? Think again.

Your employee might have the potential to be an effective performer if you invest the time and effort required of you as a manager.

How do you do this?

Use these 11 ways to determine the underlying problems behind your employee's poor performance

#1: Listen carefully to your employee, ask probing questions and clarify understanding during work discussions.

#2: Listen to what others have to say (but be careful not to elicit gossip or jump to conclusions).

#3: Informally observe your employee while working (but be careful not to spy).

For example: Can your employee deal with disruptions (for example, noise levels in an open plan area) and interruptions (for example, phone ringing while busy with a data spreadsheet)?

#4: Check use of company resources.

For example, misuse of the Internet, phone and the length of coffee breaks.

#5: Refer your employee for professional counselling (if it's a formal referral, you can request confidential feedback).

See below for the other six ways...


Don't lose at the CCMA because of a technicality! 

Did you know: There are only three grounds for dismissal that's fair! But even if you dismiss someone for a fair reason, but don't follow the correct procedure, it'll be unfair! 

Six more ways to determine the underlying problems behind your employee's poor performance

#6: Ask for a professional assessment of an employee (for example, skills or behavioural assessment to identify any gaps that would require a training or development intervention) or the work environment.

#7: Ask yourself 'is this an individual problem or a team-wide problem?'

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management says chances are that if it's a common problem with the team or company, the problem doesn't lie with your employee, but with the management of the company or team.

#8: Check your employee's references.

For example, phone or go and see your employee's previous manager and ask him 'When Ms Jones worked for you, were you at any point concerned about her accuracy or ability to deliver on time?'

If the answer is 'yes', you'll need to ask probing, but specific questions. The objective of asking probing questions is to get a clear picture of what the underlying problems are, and if there's a trend of non-performance by your employee.

#9: Review other symptoms.

For example, absenteeism might indicate that there's a health or family problem.

#10: Determine when the problem started.

If, for instance, the problem started when you introduced new software, it might point to a lack of skill on how to use the new software, or resistance to change to the new programme.

But, if the problem only started when you transferred your employee to your team, then the problem might be work management or relationship-based.

#11: Review information from exit interviews.

The Guide says although this is seldom used, it's probably one of the most meaningful sources of information that could highlight if there's a problem with the culture of your company, a particular supervisor or manager, team member, or the work environment.

Remember, leadership isn't about avoiding problems, but about achieving results through people.

So use these 11 tips to determine the underlying reasons affecting your employee's performance. Doing so will help you manage your employee's poor performance.

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