Six employers in ten do not believe that their managers are confident and competent in managing under performing staff.
This worrying statistic was discovered along with other performance management trends during a recent survey by XpertHR. The survey also found four-fifths of organisations think that under performance is a problem in their workforce.
The survey identified that the five main performance problems employers faced were:
- High levels of sickness absence
- Poor standard of work
- Failure to meet set objectives
- The capability of the individual
- Poor attitude or behaviour to colleagues
Employers considered the most effective strategy in managing under performance to be managers providing regular informal feedback and guidance to the individual.
In our opinion, for organisations to succeed, it is essential that the quality and quantity of conversations between managers and their direct reports improve. These conversations don’t just help people perform better. We have found that the best way to improve people’s job satisfaction and feelings of self-worth is to help them perform well. That kind of support requires a good formal and informal performance management system.
Appropriate training in the necessary skills is the bedrock of that support. It is human nature to be reluctant to give feedback regarding poor performance or inappropriate behaviour. As a result, managers often fail to give feedback early enough.
When we work with leaders, we always ask them to identify the people they lead who have ‘performance problems’ and to tell us how long this has been going on. The responses range from 3 months to 2 years; and we believe that identifies the leader as part of the problem; the performance issues are not being addressed quickly enough.
What causes decreases in performance? In our experience, we rarely find that decreases in performance result from a decline in competency. People either know how to do something or they don’t. Therefore, changes in performance occur either because the job and the necessary skills to perform it have changed, or because people have lost their commitment.
If the problem has been going on for a long time, there is probably a high level of emotional tension in the relationship between the leader and their direct report. The leader often observes the underperformance or behaviour and becomes angrier and angrier. The direct report is often angry because they feel they have been wronged by the organisation and/ or manager.
If line managers are going to be up to the task of effectively managing performance – and underperformance – they need the support to discharge this responsibility. Organisations must ensure their managers are equipped with the mindset and techniques to performance manage their staff.
Outstand provides coaching and training to line mangers at all levels on performance management. Contact us today to learn more.