Employee Performance is Your Fault

Dollarphotoclub_89737774-sizedGood or Bad, Employee Performance is Your Fault

Almost every day I speak with employers who are tired of the mediocre mindset their employees have. They complain that they are unmotivated, entitled & consistently underperforming.

All of that may be true in you company. If it is, it’s your fault. Here are a few of my thoughts on employee performance & what you can do now to turn things around.

You are in control.

I remember a time in one of my companies years ago when I had no control. Employees would tell me who they would work with and who they wouldn’t. They’d threaten to leave without getting what they wanted and were constantly making pain in the ass demands.

It’s easy to look at it now and say “get rid of them,” but when business is growing and revenue is coming in fear can take over. I felt that I’d lose out on the growth opportunities if I got rid of them. I also felt I would never be able to find people who could do the job ‘right.’

Then, one day I was reminded that I was in control and that I didn’t need to feel like a prisoner in my own business. An hour after that realization I pulled my 12 employees together and had a 2 minute discussion with each one privately.

The result? I fired 7 of them.

What really happened was that I made a decision to take back control in my company. I decided that the people who worked for me would be winners. The after effects were challenging but in the end it was the best decision I made in that company.

Never forget you have control. If you don’t like what you see, change it.

You get what you train

Are they taking too long to do something? Is the quality not what it needs to be? If so, it most likely comes down to training. I have a client who has an issue with their crew leaders not finishing jobs on time. After taking a quick look at the typical week and how their time is spent this is an easy fix.

Like most small businesses, this client was not taking a little time each week to pull the team together and game plan the work. They weren’t debriefing after each project to learn from it. In short, they were not keeping score. My old business coach always said “What you measure improves.” I believe that to be true.

Want more sales? Have a sales dude meeting each week and talk about leads, proposals, follow-up and sold work. Talk about how to approach challenging situations or do some role playing.

Want your team to finish on time? Have a short meeting to game-plan the job before hand so you can be more efficient. Then, have a meeting to see how you did against what you planned. Talk about what’s working and what needs fixing.

Most mediocre employee performance can be traced back to little or no training. The little things matter. Pay attention to them.

You are not their motivator

Former Chicago Bears Head Coach, Mike Ditka was once asked how he motivated his teams. Was it a pre-game speech? How about a life-changing halftime talk? None of the above!

Ditka’s paraphrased reply was, “They’re professionals. They all have their reasons for winning. They’re responsible for motivating themselves. My job is to pull them together & win.”

You’re the Head Coach of your business. You don’t have time to run around and ‘motivate’ everyone. Give them a process to follow and train them. Make sure they work your system so that things are done your way. Your job is to find talent, train them and let them go play ball. In football they say the “Eye in the sky doesn’t lie.” That means each week your performance is evaluated by the film the coaches watch. Think you’re doing a great job? Let’s look at the film! Miss too many tackles…you get cut. Always block the right guy…get a contract extension.

I encourage that you pay better than anyone in your industry, find great people and give them a great environment to grow. If they can’t get motivated with that then they can leave or you can cut them.

When employee performance is not your fault

I believe in most cases the results we get in our business, win or lose, are our fault.

How do I know when it’s not my fault and that I just have the wrong people? That’s simple…

If you have clearly laid out what their job is, have a consistent training program, regularly measure their performance and give them every opportunity to get better and they still don’t cut it, then it’s time to move on. Make sure you’re doing your part as an owner before you pull the trigger on people that might end up being winners for your company!


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