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HR Insights with Ali: Stopping the Spread of Poor Performance

Posted on 5/10/2017 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
Imagine that your office has certain end-of-the-day tasks that are supposed to be completed before an employee leaves. Employee A repeatedly does not complete hers until the next morning. Employee B asks Employee A about it, and Employee A says, “Oh, I’ve always just done them the next day. No one ever says anything.” What are the chances that Employee B is now going to follow suit?

Scenarios such as this demonstrate how contagious poor performance can be. From showing up late to failing to complete tasks to taking an extra 10 minutes for lunch, the actions of one of your staff members can negatively impact the actions of those around them. Without intervention, bad habits can quickly become commonplace.

There are a number of reasons why business owners fail to address poor performance when they see it. Perhaps this particular employee is usually high-performing, or maybe he performs a vital role and you are afraid of him leaving. Or maybe you are afraid of seeming “too tough.” Or, honestly, maybe you just don’t want to have a tough conversation. Whatever your reason, failing to speak up about performance issues right away can have a devastating impact upon your practice.

When forcing yourself to take action, remember that what you are doing is not just for your benefit or for the benefit of your practice - you are also acting on behalf of your other staff members. When one worker is not doing his or her share, the other workers have to pick up the slack. By treating everyone equally and addressing infractions immediately and consistently, you are showing your employees that you will treat everyone equally and that you do not play favorites. And any employee who becomes angry or possibly even quits over being chastised for poor performance is unlikely to be one you want to keep in the long term. Keep in mind, taking action against poor performance will become easier with time. The sooner you say, and do, what is necessary to keep poor performance from spreading, the happier you and your employees will be.

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