Managers have to know how to deal with employees who do not perform up to standards, even if it seems like an uncomfortable part of their job description. This article outlines some best-practices used by performance consultants. Whether you area dealing with large or small scale performance issues, using these steps will provide you with a valuable methodology for solving problems.
Step 1: Establish desired performance levels.
• Identify expectations.
• Review performance indicators.
The first step in establishing desired levels of employee performance is to determine how employees should be performing, according to expectations held by the organization’s customers (or stakeholders) and according to established organizational performance standards.
Once you have identified your stakeholder expectations, you can establish performance indicators, however before you go about the process of creating new performance indicators, you should determine if they have already been established at some other point in time.
Step 2: Determine current performance levels.
• Select measurement techniques.
• Collect data.
After you have identified the desired performance levels, the next step is to develop a clear picture of what is actually happening now.
You need to consider:
• How are people presently performing?
• What results are now being achieved?
The first decision to make will be selecting a technique for measuring current performance. Types of measures could include run charts
, Pareto charts
or any other type of measure that you currently utilize. You may choose to utilize several different methods at once in order to form a more complete picture.
After you have selected your measurement technique, you are ready to begin collecting data. Although oftentimes you don’t need to collect huge amounts of information, it’s true that collecting some data is always better than having no data at all.
Step 3: Identify performance gaps.
• Analyze the data.
• Calculate the performance gap.
The next step in the process is to determine if there are gaps between how people are currently performing and how they should be performing. If your analysis of the performance data indicates that a gap exists, you will have to determine the extent of the gap and determine how you want to address the issue.
Check the data. To check the quality of the data, give the data an overall “eyeball” appraisal and ask the following questions:
• Is the performance data accurate, complete, and current?
• Are the data and reported events close to your expectations?
• Are there any unexpected differences from any data collected earlier?
Confirm the data. If you find discrepancies among the data, or if you want to confirm the data, you should:
• Check the collected data against another source (e.g., work samples, error reports, complaint records, supervisor feedback, etc.).
• Collect another sample of the same data so that you can determine the degree of accuracy and reliability of the original performance data collected.
• Review any similar information that may exist about the job (e.g., job descriptions).
Summarize the data. Once you have validated the data you collected, you are ready to organize and tabulate it. Quantitative data can be summarized using simple descriptive statistics found in spreadsheet programs. Qualitative data (not numeric) should be presented using an approach logic such as by chronological progression of steps, cause-and-effect, or grouping similar items.
Once you’ve reached this point you are ready to determine the distance between the current performance, and your desired level. You’ll also be much better positioned to determine whether or not a training intervention is a viable solution to correct any issue you may encounter.