Good communication is key in any business and no more so than when it comes to performance management in a firm. Issues relating to staff members and the performance of their duties arise often when running a business (or a department for that matter). Whether it is timekeeping and attendance issues or failing to complete a task, such issues should be resolved as soon as possible. Good communication skills are key if issues are to be resolved quickly and effectively.

Talk to the person
The first step in resolving almost any employee issue is ostensibly the simplest: talk to the person. It’s remarkable how reluctant many business owners and managers are to initiate ¬†such a conversation.

It’s important to communicate honestly, openly and clearly with your employees. Whether it is performance or conduct that is not up to scratch, it’s also a good idea to have such conversations early, rather than letting things fester.

Plan for a successful conversation
Before initiating the above conversation with your problem employee, you should plan it out and write down a few bullet points such as:

  • What behaviours are giving cause for concern?
  • Do I have specific examples I can quote?
  • What are the observed or potential consequences of those behaviours?
  • What improvements in behaviour would make me feel confident that the employee has understood my concerns and knows what results I am looking for?
  • How shall I respond if the employee becomes emotional, angry or defensive?
  • How will I monitor their future behaviour?
  • When shall we meet again to discuss whether the improvements have actually taken place?
  • What shall I do if they are not forthcoming?

The answers to these questions will give you a robust framework for the discussion.