On a + note

The poorly performing employee. #17: 2013

Posted in on a + note by flickfancy on April 29, 2013

kitty #17Poorly performing employees damage moral and are a huge waste of time and money! It’s also something we don’t like to talk about.

However, in a recent study, 250 Canadian CEO’s said their supervisors spent over 25% of their time supervising under-performing staff. Over 50%  of CEO’S also said under-performing employees negatively impacted the rest of the staff who resent the poor performer or were frustrated as they felt obliged to do or redo their work.

This leads me to reaffirm my commitment to the importance of three management tools that we in library land often overlook:

Probationary periods… need to be established at the time of hire and consistently monitored. I have found that a 2 month probationary period (the preference of most unions) is simply not long enough. A 3-4 month period, carefully monitored will usually provide a clearer sense of the employee’s organizational fit abilities and work ethic. And, it is important to note that a probationary period can always be extended.

Performance evaluations…if an under-performer has slipped through their probationary period, the annual performance review is a good way to draw a line in the sand and clearly outline measurable improvement targets (i.e. draft report due by July 4th, over 30 books processed per hour…). The key here is, just like the probationary period, it has to be monitored; this is not an independent study or do it yourself project. If your library doesn’t have a performance evaluation program, no matter how big or small your library, this should be your highest priority. How can staff improve, feel good about their work and move ahead if they don’t know how they have done and where they are headed?

Coaching sessions…are when the supervisor, employee and usually an HR person meet to review the impact their under-performance is having on their peers and the organization.  The goal of this meeting is to get the employee back on track…this is really important so I will repeat it …the goal of this meeting is to get the employee back on track and  plan how to improve performance. At the end of the meeting, they usually agree to meet in 4-6 weeks to review progress. A letter is then issued outlining the discussion, plan of action and possible consequences if performance does not improve. In most cases this is the most effective way to get the under-performing employee quickly back on track. The good news is the more coaching session you do as a supervisor, the better you become at encouraging better employee performance.

Poorly performing employees damage moral and are a huge waste of time and money but with a monitored probationary period, measurable performance evaluations or productive coaching sessions, they can improve and become a valued part of the library team.

Kitty Pope                                                                                                 #17 April 2013




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