How to Address Challenges of Poor Performance

Often employers and employees want to avoid conflict and will try to get out of difficult conversations.  But when it comes to employees’ performances, issues must be addressed.

It is important to be specific and candid; explain the actions or behaviours that led to the meeting.  Vague phrases such as “bad attitude” or “insubordination” should be avoided.

By meeting with them and explaining the expectations, you are in a better position to help empower your staff.  By framing it as a meeting and less of a discipline session, they are more apt to embrace and adopt positive changes.  In this way, employees will be more likely to engage in a productive dialogue.  Perhaps they are not aware of certain aspects of their duties but now they know and will strive to perform better.  It is important to train them, give them the opportunity to improve and motivate them along the way.

Adopting a motivational standpoint allows discipline to be viewed in a positive light and employees to feel supported; this helps them to perform better.  For example, when they have issues with punctuality, the usual reaction is giving verbal warning, or written warning, which can be perceived negatively.  However, using motivational discipline, there can be a collaborative discussion about how to better manage time.  This allows employees to take note of their tardiness and helps them gain skills, awareness, and knowledge of their employers’ expectations.  When they arrive on time, be sure to give them a thumbs up and let them know that you notice and appreciate their effort.  Positive praise works wonders compared to negative discipline. Staff perform better than those who are constantly berated and given warnings.  

Of course, not all situations in the workplace warrant motivational discipline.  Issues such as drug addiction, dishonesty, or sexual harassment are much bigger challenges and may even require instant dismissal.  In such situations, bring along security in case employees get violent.  

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