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Recognizing and Responding to Employee Performance
Recognition and Appreciation
Recognizing great work is one of the most important, but often overlooked supervisory responsibilities. At the City, we have a number ways to recognize great work. The #TeamCity Awards offer a very public way to recognize employees who live our values. There are many other ways Supervisors can provide timely and helpful recognition.
Responding to Performance Issues
Assessing Performance Issues
Before you define issues with an employee’s performance, consider the following questions:
- Have you followed the whole Performance Management Process (e.g. updating the position description, establishing expectations and standards)?
- Have you met with the employee to review expectations and given them feedback? Have you documented these conversations?
- Has the employee received timely and adequate training, information, and resources needed to do the job?
If the answer to any of these questions is, “no” or “sort of,” focus on setting and communicating expectations and monitoring and supporting the employee’s performance. Be sure you are documenting meetings, trainings, etc. before you move forward in the performance management process.
Defining How the Performance is Not Meeting Expectations
Review the Citywide expectations and position-specific expectations and highlight any areas where the employee is not meeting expectations. Be specific about which expectations are not being met. This could include the quantity of their work, the quality of their work, and their productivity, knowledge and dependability. You should also be specific about how you are monitoring and measuring performance (errors, time, customer complaints, etc.).
Defining When the Performance is Not Meeting Expectations
Defining “When” is a matter of documenting the frequency with which performance has failed to meet expectations, providing examples of such failures, and identifying the effects felt when this has occurred.
- List specific examples of when the performance has failed to meet expectations. Unless this is a serious infraction, there should be more than one solitary occurrence. and should instead establish a pattern of deficiency.
- For each example, detail the impact of the employee not meeting expectations. This can include increased customer complaints, impacts on coworkers, economic impacts, and impacts on processes.
Determining the cause of performance issues
Poor performance can have a variety of causes. This can include:
- Lack of knowledge or training to develop skills and abilities
- Poor communication of expectations
- Negligence or insubordination
If the performance issues are related to misconduct (insubordination, negligence, etc), your response as a supervisor is different from situations when an employee not capable (due to lack of knowledge, skills, or abilities) of performing all required duties.
Misconduct and Performance
An employee who is capable of adequate performance, but is not adequately performing due to misconduct will be subject to progressive discipline.
Indicators that performance issues are related to misconduct include:
- The employee appears to exert little to no effort.
- There is a history of the employee being capable of meeting expectations.
- There is a verbal refusal to meet expectations.
- The employee engages in excessive personal business while on duty.
- There are violations of other work rules (attendance not related to approved medical leave, etc), which cause the employee to fail to meet expectations.
In situations when an employee is capable of meeting expectations, but is choosing not to, supervisors should follow the performance-related discipline process.
It is inappropriate in any circumstance to discipline an employee solely due to a lack of training. However, there may be times when an employee has been trained and coached by their supervisor and is still not meeting expectations. They may be following instructions and giving maximum effort, but the results are not there.
Indicators that the employee is not capable of meeting expectations include:
- The employee exerts adequate effort and still fails to meet expectations.
- The employee has rarely been capable of meeting expectations.
- The employee is trained on duties/responsibilities and still fails to meet expectations.
- The employee has difficulty with similar tasks.
- The employee is unable to grasp or adapt to workplace innovations or change.
- Discipline would be counterproductive to improvement.
In these cases, a Performance Improvement Plan will give the employee an opportunity to develop the required knowledge, skills and abilities in a specified timeline.