What are you tolerating from your employees?

Are you ignoring or procrastinating about confronting your employee about their behavior or their performance? Maybe the employee is going through a difficult time or their performance has gradually started to downhill or you are telling yourself that this is a tough labor market and you are afraid that you will not be able to replace the employee. It could be all three, but nonetheless instead of fixing the problem you are tolerating it.

While you continue to tolerate the behavior, consider these reasons to act.

  1. The poor performer is negatively impacting your business and you have a responsibility to react. Likely you AND your other employees are working harder as a result. Someone is taking up the slack for the poor performance. If the problem is the bad behavior of the employee, you are probably spending time making excuses to other employees or to yourself for why you are not doing anything to fix this problem. When the frustration at work goes up, everyone is impacted negatively.
  • You may be able to fix the problem! The employee needs to be held accountable and understand the consequences. Once you face the employee with their behavior or poor work product there is a chance the employee will react positively because they don’t want to lose their job.
  • Holding employees accountable can be a big morale booster. When employees see that problems in the company are dealt with, they have more respect for you and the company. They are more excited about their work and their engagement goes up.
  • You will feel better about your own competence as a manager or business owner. Your confidence is critical to your success and you will feel great once you begin to take the right action. A big weight will be lifted, and you will be energized!

Here are some tips on how to confront poor performance and bad behavior from your employees.

  1. Don’t wait. Let the employee know right away when their behavior is not acceptable or that their performance is not up to standard.
  • Be kind. Don’t speak to the employee when you are angry. Cool down but be firm and clear. Ask the employee what they heard you say so that you can confirm that the message was received in the way you intended.
  • Remember the phrase, praise in public, correct in private. When you confront the behavior do so behind closed doors.
  • Use the phrase, “When you xx, the result it xxx, what I need from you is xxx.” When you are confronting the employee. Let them know the impact of their behavior on other employees, the customers and/or the business.
  • If the problem is performance, try engaging in an interactive dialog with the employee designed to work together to fix the problem. Start by asking the employee why they think the performance is not up to standards. You’ll want to make sure they have the knowledge and skills to do the work in case what is needed is more training. It could be that the employee requires fewer interruptions to perform some of their tasks without errors or it could be something else altogether. The point is to investigate the reasons for the performance and determine whether there is a solution. The employee will appreciate your efforts it could pay off for everyone.
  • Document the conversation. The first conversation you have with the employee will be a verbal conversation but needs to be noted in their personnel file and don’t forget to include the date. If the verbal conversations don’t seem to be helping you will need to do a written warning which is signed by the employee and yourself and added to their file.

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