Here’s some hints and tips for Supervisors on addressing performance concerns. We know its never easy to address concerns you may have with one of your team’s performance, but it is an important and necessary aspect of management, and one that can bring huge benefits if tackled correctly.
The longer a performance issue is left unaddressed, the harder it is to resolve the issue fairly, as you will not be giving the employee a chance to defend how they handled a situation if they cannot recall the incident.
It is far easier to resolve performance issues fairly if they are tackled at an early stage.
Ignoring poor performance until it becomes a major concern will have a negative impact on a team, other employees may be resentful that an employee is being allowed to get away with performing poorly, they may have to pick up the slack and this may affect their own motivation. It is therefore also unfair on other employees to ignore poor performance.
Preparing to give feedback
Before giving the employee the feedback its important to be prepared
- prompt – do not save feedback for a meeting weeks after the event;
- clear – the employee needs to understand what the issue is to be able to rectify it and they also need to appreciate the importance of your conversation, namely that the issue is something that they need to take on board and address – signify this tactfully but clearly;
- objective – you are not criticising the employee’s personality or innate ability, but pointing out behaviours that could be improved;
- constructive – you need genuinely to aim at helping the employee improve for the future; and
- specific – address a particular issue or task, avoid comments that are too general and focus on specific points that can be properly discussed.
Here’s some Dos and Don’ts
It is easy to sweep feedback under the rug and save it for an annual performance review, especially when it is negative.
Always avoid waiting until a formal review to deliver constructive feedback. Waiting will only catch employees off guard, hinder trust and delay the opportunity for them to improve their performance.
DO stick to the facts:
Be specific, state both your observations and your perception of the situation. Your observations can include facts about their behaviour, what they said, their tone of voice, quality of work, or trends in their behaviour. Then, state your perception of what you observed. Your perception can include your interpretation of the data or event and how it made you feel. This helps employees understand the impact of their actions and sets the stage for honest and sincere conversations moving forward.
DON’T forget to pause:
Once you have delivered your observations and perception, pause to let them process the information. Consider that you have had time to think about the feedback while they are likely hearing it for the first time. This gives the employee a chance to recall, reflect and share their reaction to the feedback. This simple step can turn the act of delivering feedback into a collaborative conversation.
DO make a plan to move forward:
Discuss with the employee the best way to move forward. It is important to agree on a solution to ensure you have both bought into the next steps. This will ensure any necessary conversations related to the feedback in the future will be objective and easier to approach.
DON’T only focus on the negative:
When appropriate, take time to express appreciation for a job well done. When appreciation is expressed in a meaningful and genuine way, it can build trust within your reporting relationships. When the time comes to deliver constructive feedback, employees will be more likely to perceive it as an opportunity to improve instead of an attack.
If you need any assistance on any aspect of addressing performance concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01527 909436.