01 Jun Unreliable Employees: Is your Business at risk?
1. The Challenge:
A significant challenge posed to many businesses is the management of ‘unreliable’ employees who may be exhibiting ongoing signs of unsatisfactory performance. There may be a range of issues impacting upon this individual’s performance. These may range from a pattern of absenteeism, lack of concentration at work, or erratic performance. Another common issue relates to an employee who was previously reliable, however their performance has been adversely affected by a significant incident in the workplace, such as workplace bullying and/or harassment. This incident may have inhibited their work performance such that they can no longer be depended upon by the organisation.
An organisation’s failure to manage an unreliable employee can be costly, on a range of levels. From an individual perspective, the result may be reduced productivity and efficiency. The costs from an organisational perspective can be greater and more damaging. An employer’s failure to manage an unreliable employee may have a negative impact on workplace culture and morale. In addition, there may also be a negative impact upon the retention of competent and reliable employees. It is common for high performing employees to feel dissatisfaction within their role when a manager fails to address unsatisfactory performance in any employee. In such instances, such high performers may be left to feel that they are required to take on a greater level of responsibility or workload, due to the unreliability of others in the team.
2. The Response:
The worst thing a business can do is fail to respond to the issue of unreliability and/or unsatisfactory performance. Conversely, it is important that management seeks to address the cause of the unreliable employee’s performance at the earliest opportunity. It is recommended that in the first instance, this occur through an informal and open discussion with the employee concerned. During such conversations, it is recommended that managers explore the issue(s) constructively with the employee, seek to identify the cause(s) of the unsatisfactory performance, and ascertain what measures can be adopted to support the employee to improve their overall performance. Following the discussion, it is essential that managers and team leaders provide regular feedback, direction and guidance. It is also important for managers to understand that the cause of employee unreliability may not be a behavioural choice. Instead, managers should be mindful that there may be personal health or family circumstances impacting upon performance. In such instances, it is recommended that managers seek to understand the issue, and offer support to the employee to assist them to deliver in their role.
Pinnacle HR (PHR) can provide members with information and assistance in the conduct of performance management processes. In addition, PHR can provide onsite training to Managers, Supervisors & Team Leaders on Managing Unsatisfactory Employee Performance.