Employee Management: How to get the most out of your staff

Nobody hires an employee because they want them to fail; quite the opposite. In fact, your employees can be your greatest resource.

Science has proven time and time again that, in terms of shaping behaviour, reward outperforms punishment. So it is time to update your processes from an archaic disciplinary system based on warnings and citations. Instead look to a system based on identifying the root of the issues affecting your employee’s performance, and how you can promote improved performance from your employees by working with your worker to find a solution.

Does this sound onerous and time-consuming? Consider the alternative: studies have shown that associated cost of replacing just one employee in the retail, tourism, hospitality, or services sector to be over $3,300. In sales, financial services, and business consulting, the cost could be over $8,000, and the cost to replace executive management to be in the hundreds of thousands.

So what does it take to help your worker go from ‘on the bubble’ to ‘employee of the month’? It takes a change in mindset, compassion, and more than a little persistence.

Five steps for developing your Employee Support & Development Program

1. Clarify the issue

Sometimes employees don’t truly understand why you are meeting with them, and misunderstanding arises surrounding their job expectations. Maybe they didn’t even know there was an issue? Highlight your main concerns with them, explain why they are a problem, and ask them if they understand and if they have any questions. .

2. Ask why

Just like you don’t hire an employee hoping they will fail, an employee doesn’t take a job hoping to be a bad employee. While many business owners and employees believe that work and personal life should be kept separate, the reality is that we are human, and one will inevitably impact the other. Sometimes, employees have a ‘good’ reason’. However, if we don’t ask, we’ll never know.

3. Ask employee for input on a solution

When employees are consulted on how to improve, not only their own performance but sometimes even the performance of the business, they buy-in at a much greater level. For instance, if you have an employee who constantly shows up 30 to 45 minutes late every day, perhaps starting their shift an hour later will remedy that issue. Is an employee frequently sick, or does an employee suffer from stress, anxiety, etc., from the hustle and bustle of the workplace? Maybe they can do their job from a home office. Creative solutions like these can increase both employee performance and happiness

4. Make a plan

Discuss with your employee how you will implement these changes, and make a plan that all parties both understand and agree to. Remember, make this plan SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timeline).

5. Follow up

Set an actual date to follow up with your employee, to check on how the changes are helping them improve. At this time you can also ask for feedback and change their performance plan if necessary. It is at this time that you can go back to step one and work your way through again. It may take a couple tries to get this right.

As with a disciplinary plan, you will want to document each one of these meetings. However, the tone should be noticeably different. Ultimately, if you tried your best to help your employee be all that they can be, and it’s just not working out, you may need to move on from them, but it’s not from lack of trying.

Despite any frustrations you may feel, remember that you hired them based on positive merits that you identified at one time. Chances are those attributes are still there — we just need to unlock their potential!