New managers are often faced with supervising under-performing employees. While these situations can prove challenging for even the most seasoned managers, they can be even more complicated when poor performance has been allowed over a period of years or when the organization lacks the policies, procedures or appropriate leadership to manage performance.
Meeting with employees to discuss their history with the organization and their performance specifically can be very informative. Use these discussions to gather information about their strengths, interests and goals as well. Use conversations with your supervisor to gather additional information as well as conversations with other managers and possibly human resources. Your goal is to learn as much about the history of performance management at the organization as well as how your employees have been managed.
Understanding the System
Once you understand the history of performance management at the organization you can ask questions specific to the system—the actual forms, software and supporting processes used to document performance related conversations, goals and progress. You will need this understanding to ensure the goals you set with employees can be tracked and reported upon in a meaningful way. If you discover an outdated system or process and you have experience in this area, meet to discuss potential improvements with your supervisor.
Empowering Employees to Stay or Transition
You can determine how best to manage employee performance once you understand the organization’s history, guidelines and goals. You may discover some employees simply need clear goals and empowerment to perform at high levels while other employees may actually need help transitioning from their role with the organization. You are not assuming an appropriate amount of responsibility if you are not honest with employees about their performance. Conversations about performance can be challenging and uncomfortable. The most impactful managers understand that helping someone prepare to leave the organization may be the best course of action for the employee and organization.
- Leadership, culture, systems and other aspects influence employee performance.
- Gather information about employee performance from multiple sources.
- Employee performance may have been mismanaged in the past.
- Within your first thirty days, gather information about your direct report from various sources (including from the employees themselves) and review personnel files.
- Identify which employees need empowerment or developmental opportunities or if any need to transition from the organization. Create and implement plans to achieve desired performance and team structure.