Provisional Blog

How to Get a Problem Employee Back on Track

December 21st, 2010

When it comes to an under-performing employee at your Spokane company, it can be tempting to ignore the problem or go to the other extreme and dismiss the employee altogether. But, in some cases, fixing an existing problem is less expensive than recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee. So here are some ways to help you deal with this tricky situation.

Identify the Problem

First, you should identify the problem and try to find the reasons behind it. For instance, maybe the employee isn’t in the right role and needs to be re-assigned. Possibly, the employee is having personal or family issues that are impacting their work quality. Or, as is sometimes the case, the problem could be an indication of a bigger management issue in the department or at the company as a whole. Whatever the reason, the only way to find out is to talk to the employee privately.

If the performance issue rests solely with the employee, not with management, then your next step should be to work with the employee to develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). In simplest terms, a PIP is a plan to help an employee improve his or her performance. Here are the steps to take to develop an effective PIP:

  • List what performance areas needs improvement. Be as specific as possible. Don’t talk about behaviors, talk about results. For instance, don’t say “Your aren’t being productive enough.” Instead, say something like: “You’re often quite late in the morning, which is impacting your ability to get your work done.”
  • Also describe the expected standard of performance. Be very clear, using examples, about how you expect the employee to perform in the future.
  • Let your employee know what resources, training, materials, and support you will provide to help them meet expectations. For example, an employee might need to participate in a training program in order to gain knowledge and skills to perform their job better.
  • Create a plan for offering feedback to your employee. Let them know when and with whom they will be meeting to discuss performance. Be specific when it comes to the measurements you will be using to evaluate performance. Also, make clear the consequences of not meeting performance expectations.

Once you’ve developed the PIP, make sure your HR department reviews the plan to ensure it’s consistent with company policy and that it treats the employee fairly. And if, throughout the process, you and your HR department determine the employee is not making acceptable progress, it may then be necessary to take disciplinary action, such as verbal and/or written reprimands and if those don’t work, a suspension from work. If the employee is still not willing or able to make progress, then it may be necessary to terminate them.

In the future, conducting regular performance reviews can help you tackle performance issues. At the very least, conduct reviews annually, but you’d be even better served by conducting performance reviews every few months. That way, any issues that arise can be addressed quickly and don’t come as a surprise to the employee. In addition, by having frequent performance reviews, you can set smaller, more achievable goals and check in more regularly on whether goals are being accomplished.

And if you need help finding top-performing employees in Spokane, please contact Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!