How to deal when performance is missing the mark

WHEN PERFORMANCE IS MISSING THE MARK WHAT DO YOU DO?
I sometimes work with clients who have become so concerned and frustrated about the performance of one of their staff that they have reluctantly called me in to see if I can help. As helping people improve their capability is why I went into learning & development in the first place, I find this kind of work very rewarding. A successful outcome always feels like a triumph – the person improves their work performance and it’s a relief to all concerned to resolve or avert a formal performance management
situation.

The sorts of things which can help improve a performance problem include:
1. Identifying the performance gap
What are the manager’s expectations about performance for a competent person in this role?
Sometimes the manager’s expectations have not been properly communicated – the job description is
woolly and out of date, the success measures have not been thought through, there has been
inadequate communication and inadequate feedback.
How is the person actually performing?
There can be gaps in one or more parts of the work, in how the job gets done as well as what gets
done. The manager needs to work through the specifics of what needs to improve.
2. Identifying why the performance gaps have arisen
Once the gaps have been articulated then the manager needs to find out why the gaps have arisen.
Performance gaps can arise for a number of reasons:
Knowledge – the person does not know what needs to be done or how to do it
Skills – the person knows what to do and how to do it but needs practice
Attitude – the person is not motivated to do it, there is no positive consequence for good
performance and no negative consequence for poor performance
Capability – no matter what is done to help, the person will never be able to perform to the
required standard – you’ve got a recruitment or a promotion issue
Resources – the person is working flat out and doing as best as can be expected in the
circumstances, however does not have the team or equipment needed
Processes – a poor process is getting in the way of the work being done efficiently
Once the reasons have been identified then the solutions become a bit clearer too: further training or
coaching, further practice, arranging a consequence which matters, changing the role, changing the
resources, changing the process.

Happy detective work!
If you would like some help then contact Lesley Wilson at:
Pearl Onion Training
T 01467 681404
E lesley@pearlonion.co.uk

Leave a Reply