Thursday, July 21, 2011

Solving Employee Performance Problems

Staff is the largest expense for most companies. Maximizing return from staff expense is a highly complex problem. People by nature are complex.

I read a book by Anne Bruce, Brenda Hampel and Erika Lamont called "Solving Employee Performance Problems - How to Spot Problems Early, Take Appropriate Action and Bring Out the Best In Everyone".

I tend to prefer books with more positive titles (although bringing out the best is positive). I wonder if thinking of things as a problem can become self fulfilling.

The first chapter has a perfect title "Set Expectations to Avoid Performance Problems". It is so much easier to not have a problem in the first place.

The book goes on to set out a model of performance management that includes things like assess, set expectation and monitor.

The book has tons of examples with sample conversations that could be useful for any manager.

I often find performance challenges can be a result of people being in the wrong job. The ideal is to find them a position that more closely aligns to their passion. Passion creates engagement and then performance.

One thing I like to do (although clearly am not perfect at) is coach, train and mentor. Often performance is a result of lack of understanding of how to do the job well.

It would be great if the boss was all knowing and knew the correct answer to everything but that is not the case. I actually think we suffer from too much meddling by bosses that does not add value. I much prefer to set the goals and let people do their jobs. Not doing that can limit the size an organization can grow to.

Performance appraisal should be ongoing.

Truly solving HR problems would be the magic bullet for all businesses.


At 12:09 PM, Anonymous John Martin said...

Hi Jim, Great post.

One of my suppliers has a unique approach that goes along with this.

Employee evaluations can be difficult to manage and track. Sparkologee is in the process of deploying its popular social media based training tools as a Performance review application.

This will make contributions from both the employee and the manager easier to do, track and turn into an ongoing process.

Part of this includes Intranet integration with Share Point. I'm happy to provide more information to anyone interested,



At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Melany Gallant said...

Hi Jim,

thanks for the shout out to Halogen about our performance appraisal template.

We completely agree about setting expectations so that employees know exactly what their duties/responsibilities are. Meddling bosses can have an adverse affect on performance, but having ongoing performance conversations ensures your employees stay on track and provides the opportunity for both managers and employees to discuss alternatives should roadblocks occur.


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