Losing weight and managing have a lot in common. Both losing weight and managing people are difficult. If you’re overweight, you may often receive negative feedback about how your weight is affecting your health from family, friends, and your doctor. One of the most difficult tasks in managing people is giving negative feedback or terminating them. It just so happens that employees with bad attitudes, low performers, and the good days/bad days employees are weighing you and your department down just as excess body weight slows your body down.
Of course, the idea is to always try and keep employees by finding a way for them to add value. The employee might be able to contribute by performing different tasks on your team. They may be a better fit for another team in the same area, or they might be able to move to a different area of expertise, or location. On the other hand, allowing a poor performer, or a person with a bad attitude, or an employee who engages in unethical behavior to remain on your team is like carrying around 600 pounds of excessive baggage. However, if you feel the employee is salvageable, to ensure both yourself and the employee that you have made every effort to give them a fair chance, a good idea is to create a performance improvement plan (PIP).
A PIP provides both the employee and the manager time to be clear about expectations. The plan lays these expectations out in writing so that you are both on the same page and you both have documentation. You will need this documentation if the result is termination. You can make the plan as plain or fancy in terms of visual appeal and there is no shortage of vendors or even free templates online from which you can select. However, it is essential to keep your objective in mind. You are not trying to impress the employee with your design skills; you are trying to get a job done and give the employee a fair chance at helping you accomplish that. To help you stay on track when creating a plan, here is a brief outline:
Investigate: Be sure you have solid facts and not hearsay or biases during this process. This will include a conversation from the employee with the issue. You must be open to hearing all sides of a situation.
Issue: State the issue or concern clearly and succinctly. Be sure to state in plain language without blowing the issue out of context, the impact the issue is having.
Desired Result: This helps the employee to have a clear picture of your expectations and the changes he/she needs to address.
Timeline: Ensure that your timeline allows sufficient time to make necessary adjustments. If the goal involves a learning curve, allow realistic time for that aspect.
Follow Through: To help ensure the employee is on track, and to address any unforeseen issues, you and the employee should schedule weekly meetings.
Decision: Upon meeting the PIP deadline, it is time to make a decision. It is important to inform the employee of your decision and then follow-through.
Giving negative feedback and terminating people are two of the most difficult tasks managers say they face. If termination is the result of the PIP, you must handle it in a timely and professional manner. You have given the employee a fair opportunity to rectify a bad situation that cannot continue. You must now go on this “diet” and lose the excess weight that has been pulling your department down.
You can assist the employee even more by providing some type of outplacement service. This will help the employee to find another job quicker and build good rapport not only between the organization and the employee, but all employees. In addition, it often helps prevent legal cases claiming wrongful termination.
Things may be lean for a while in that other team members may have to carry extra weight in terms of taking on additional work. However, just as excess body weight on an individual can be life threatening so can the extra weight of trying to manage a good day/bad day employee. The life of your goals, your team members, and possibly even the organization is at stake. This is a diet no less important than the one a doctor may suggest for an overweight patient.
Graphic Credit: BigStock.com Copyright: Gearstd