HR Pitfalls Series: 5/5........If we ignore the poor performer, they'll go away

We work with small businesses on their people management challenges.  In this series we thought we would share some familiar HR pitfalls and offer some advice on how to avoid them.

At some stage, all businesses find they have people in their team who aren't performing.  In our experience the impact of a poor performer is magnified in a small businesses because its often more visible and there are fewer people to pick up the slack.

If this is a issue for you, then the worst thing you can do is ignore it.  This sends a negative message to the rest of your team and is probably having a significant impact on your profitability.  Instead, sit down with the employee to discuss your concerns.  Having a performance conversation can be difficult so it is helpful to plan the points you want to cover in advance, and pick one or two examples to talk through to illustrate your concerns.  Make sure you have this conversation in a private place where you wont be interrupted and can't be overheard.

Once you have explained your concerns, give the employee a chance to explain what is going on for them.    Sometimes its a simple as they didn't understand the objective or they don't have the right tools to do the job you are asking of them.

Finally, set some objectives by carefully explaining what outcomes you are looking for and setting deadlines to complete them by.  Don't forget to make a note of what has been discussed and set a follow up meeting so you can make sure things stay on track.

We hope you have enjoyed the HR Pitfalls Series!  If you own a small business and these challenges sound familiar, please get in touch for a free consultation - we'd love to help.