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  1. 1. 1. MoneyHuman ResourcesSearchHuman ResourcesEmploy PeopleManage PeopleSucceed at WorkSharePrintFree Human Resources Newsletter!Sign UpDiscuss in my forumPerformance Improvement StrategiesSteps in Performance Improvement CoachingBy Susan M. Heathfield, GuideSee More About:performance improvementcoachingperformance managementperformance improvement plans (pips)employee managementAdsNew Employee ChecklistImprove New Employee Onboarding Download FreeDatasheetOnboarding.CornerstoneOnDemand.comTime Tracking Free TrialEasily Track Employee Time/Expense Used by 7300 Companies, TrainingGet an immediate edge in the global business world. Contactus.Exed.Cox.Smu.EduHuman Resources AdsEmployee Performance Appraisal
  2. 2. Employee Performance ReviewPerformance EvaluationEmployee Performance GoalsTime Management StrategiesAds$59 Virtual OfficesTop USA Virtual Offices. Rock-Bottom Rates! Local HR ClassesTake 2012 Human Resources Degree Programs Online & Near You -Apply!HumanResource.AllColleges.orgDo you have the responsibility for supervising the work of others? If so, you know that employeesdont always do what you want them to do. On the one hand, they act as if they are competentprofessionals.On the other, they procrastinate, miss deadlines, and wait for instructions. They blame others whentheir work is unsuccessful. And worst of all, employees become defensive when you try to coach themto successful performance improvement through excellent, goal-accomplishing work.So, whats a supervisor to do? Performance improvement is your answer. You must begin by findingout exactly why the employee is not meeting your expectations. Perhaps the employee is unclearabout what you want him to do. He may lack the time, tools, talent, training, or temperamentrequired to effectively perform the job.He may disagree with your requirements or expectations. Regardless, you wont have a performing,engaged employee until you identify what is wrong with the employees functioning.Diagnosing Performance Improvement Opportunities and ProblemsWhen an employee is failing at work, I ask the W. Edwards Deming question, “What about the worksystem is causing the person to fail?” Most frequently, if the employee knows what they are supposedto do, I find the answer is time, tools, training, temperament or talent. The easiest to solve, andthe ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time and training. The employee musthave the tools, time and training necessary to do their job well – or they will move to an employerwho provides them.Performance Improvement QuestionsThese are the key questions that you and the employee will want to answer to diagnose performanceproblems that result in the need for you to seek performance improvement. This checklist foremployee performance improvement will help diagnose the performance issue.What about the work system is causing the person to fail?Does the employee know exactly what you want him to do? Does he know the goals and theoutcomes expected? Does he share the picture you have for the end result?Does the employee have confidence in her competence to perform the tasks associated with thegoal? In my experience, procrastination is often the result of an employee lacking confidence in herability to produce the required outcome. Or procrastination can result from the employee beingoverwhelmed with the magnitude of the task.Is the employee practicing effective work management? As an example, does he break large tasksinto small chunks of doable actions? Does he have a method for tracking project progress and to dolists?
  3. 3. Have you established a critical path for the employees work? This is the identification of the majormilestones in a project at which youd like feedback from the employee. Do you keep yourcommitment to attend the meetings at which this feedback is provided?Does the employee have the appropriate and needed people working with him or the team toaccomplish the project? Are other members of the team keeping their commitments and if not, isthere something the employee can do to help them?Does the employee understand how her work fits into the larger scheme of things in the company?Does she appreciate the value her work is adding to the companys success?Is the employee clear about what constitutes success in your company? Perhaps he thinks thatwhat he is contributing is good work and that you are a picky, overly-managing supervisor.Does the employee feel valued and recognized for the work she is contributing. Does she feel fairlycompensated for her contribution?Understanding these issues in performance improvement enables a manager to help an employeesucceed. When you follow these steps and answer these questions in a performance improvementmode, the employee can be helped to succeed. Best wishes with your performance improvement.Performance improvement is the best tool you have to encourage and coach employee success atwork.Let me give you an example of the effectiveness of this technique in a non-performance situation.Recently the manager of one of our departments told me he couldnt work with a member of his staffbecause she didnt do anything she was told and he didnt want to "have to write everything down forher." Instead of approaching this from a disciplinary perspective, I used the coaching feed backtechnique and set the situation up so that she asked me for help, rather than me forcing the helpupon her.Broadly speaking this process involves three parts: Commendation, Recommendation, andCommendation:Commendation:First, commend the employee on any significant duty that has been carried out well - this will help setthe tone of the meeting and help diffuse any hostility. Be careful, though, not to sound patronizing.Recommendation:1. Get straight to the point. Say, "The purpose of this meeting is to ____" or, "I want to spend sometime discussing with you the situation around this issue."2. State why you are having this conversation. Say, "I have a concern about ____" or, "A problemhas occurred in this area."3. Describe the behavior causing the problem. Say, "I noticed that you ____" or, "When I was toldthat you made this decision, I looked into it and discovered this result." (Provide evidence, ifnecessary. Never, ever try to coach or discipline on hear-say. Also, during the discussion, makesure you focus on behaviour, and never on personalities.)4. Explain the consequences of this behaviour. "The customer would see your behaviour asuncaring." Or, "The effect of your lateness caused your workmates to ____."5. Tell how this behavior makes you feel."When you behave in this way, I feel _____."6. Ask for the individuals view. "But thats how I see it; whats your view of the situation?"7. Ask her to assess her own behavior. "How do you think he felt when you ____?"8. Review the employees job competency requirements. As an example, check his understanding ofhis job description to ensure that you both have the same expectations of the task or duty.
  4. 4. 9. Ask the person how she will correct her behavior and how she can convince you she will do it.Ask, "Whats getting in the way for you?" Or, "How confident are you that you can change?" Or,"What can you do to convince me that you will change this behavior?"10. Ask the employee to say, in his own words, what specifically he will do to change his behavior."Say in your own words what you will do differently as a result of this discussion? What will theoutcome that I can anticipate look like if you are successful in making the changes? (In this wayyou are effectively empowering the employee to change himself. By approaching the change inthis way, the employee is setting his own standards by which he will assess his own behavior.)11. Decide on the actions that the employee will take. "Lets both agree, then, that you will do thefollowing and well review the situation in three months."12. Summarize your agreements. "To recap, you said you will do the following, and I will do this."The manager had written the employee off as totally lazy and stupid, a real hopeless case. When I gotto number nine above, I suddenly realized that she was not lazy or delinquent - far from it. She justlearns things differently than most of us. I discovered that she understands everything in a visualway, so telling her what to do was ineffective. What was required from us was a checklist, so we madea checklist and the difference was truly amazing. Shes now a very motivated and conscientiousemployee.Commendation:Finish with another positive comment. In my view, it is vital to end the conversation on a positive notebecause the last thing said is what is remembered the longest. Dignity is everything. If you destroythis, you undermine the employees self-confidence which will reduce her commitment to change andcreate hostility and general apathy. While the employee still feels valued, she will want to change. Ifthe employee feels under valued she just wont care.Thats basically the structure for feedback we use for coaching employees. With the exception oftotally defiant employees, it really does work.I dont discipline my staff. I coach them in a way that makes them aware of the consequences of theiractions, allowing them to tell me what they will do to change their behavior. In this way I am"empowering" them with the responsibility of changing their own behavior and this makes them feeldirectly accountable and involved with the situation, the problems and outcomes. This feeling ofinvolvement makes them committed to the change required and, almost without fail, will result in noloss of dignity, a higher level of motivation and improved performance.Previous12Next