SpankingIf you’re a business owner who employs staff you have no doubt, at some point been in a position where a member of your team isn’t performing.  Maybe they aren’t delivering the number of sales you expected or they just don’t seem to get what your asking them to do.  We hear about these sorts of situations all the time, so rest assured your in good company, but what action do you take to make the sorts of changes you need to see that persons level of productivity or capability improve?  Well I am pleased to say none of my clients have resorted to spanking staff yet.

Last week it emerged that China Bank has been caught spanking staff in front of colleagues when they didn’t ‘exceed themselves’ at training.  An eagle-eyed member of the audience caught this the action on their smartphone and of course it has sparked debate about how an organization can get away with taking this form of action against employees.

Whatever your thoughts on spanking, it begs the question about how employers can best prepare themselves for tackling issues of poor performance in their own workforce.

Probably one of the most frequently asked questions we get is ‘I have a member of staff who isn’t performing. What can I do?’  We then ask a number of questions to establish the background to the situation and usually find out this has been going on for some time and no one has done anything about it.  Well although I am not saying what China Bank did was right, far from it, but one thing I will say is they did take some action to address what they saw as poor performance.  No doubt they are sorely regretting their decision now, and wondering why they didn’t take a rain check before going ahead with this bizarre approach to performance management, but they did do something.

Most people don’t go to work to do a bad job.  There are times however when employees just don’t perform to the level you expect of them and when these types of situations occur line managers should feel confident to take action quickly to deal with the issue before allowing it to become a much larger problem.

Poor performance can occur for a variety of reasons, such as lack of training, employees not understanding what is expected of them and genuine lack of capability, to name just a few.

Whatever the reason might be the first thing to do, when you notice the employee isn’t cutting the mustard is to discuss the issue with the employee. This is the most fundamental part and the one aspect that most often doesn’t happen.  Unless the employee knows there’s a problem, how can they do anything about it.  You need to explain what’s the issue with their performance. Talk to them about what you expect to see from them and ask if there is any training or support that you can provide to help them in achieving the levels of performance you are seeking.

Just having this conversation alone starts the performance management process, which is all about helping that person to get them where you need them to be, not getting them out of the business.

This is just the start of a performance management process but managed well it shouldn’t be long before you are starting to see improvements.  If your not however, further discussions will be needed and you may need to take more formal action via the capability or disciplinary route.  But by managing performance issues early, you stand a much greater chance of turning the situation around and helping that employee deliver the level of performance you are expecting of them.

Now I don’t want to encourage you to go round spanking your staff, but taking action is better than ignoring the problem, as the majority of time sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to make your problem go away.

So if your getting a twitchy palm and don’t know how to manage a situation with a member of your team who isn’t performing, we can help.  Get in touch today. We offer a no obligation chat and we’d be delighted to talk you through how we might be able to help you get it right, so you don’t end up on your bottom!!