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Best Methods to Talk to an Employee Who Cannot Match Their Goals

by Jody Ordioni

It is a good idea to gain an understanding of the employees’ perspective regarding the goals that have been set for them. They should review their performances and also list key parameters and examples to assess their work. Knowing how close your perception is to your employee’s will make communication easier. If they are on the same line of thought as you, you can move on to the next step in your plan.

Even if they partially agree with your assessment, a few pointers in the right direction are enough to make them aware of their deficits. They might be under the impression that they are meeting their job expectations, however if your assessment is different you can express it. The employees who are not meeting the goals require special attention. You can talk to them in following ways.

Impress the Importance of Non-Negotiable Points

Once the dissatisfaction has been expressed, make sure to highlight the areas where the employees are expected to pull up their socks. If there are any criterion that cannot be negotiated, do express them in a clear language. Discuss the difficulties the employees face in matching their job expectations. Keep channels of communication open and uninhibited so that employees feel comfortable in addressing their grievances in a timely manner.

Align Yourself with the Goal of the Employees

The improvement in your employee’s performance is tied to what they gain out of this engagement. The motivation of the employee relies on their professional growth. For example, if they wish to gain more exposure in interacting with customers then they can be provided with opportunities to interact and build relationships with them. This also increases the time they spend traveling to customer bases.

However, this can often lead to them spending more time off-site and missing out on important deadlines. In such a case, the employee has to be made aware of the shortcoming on his part. They have to understand that to continue interacting with customers, they will first have to prioritize their work and declutter any backlog that might be present.

Ensure that you do understand the perspective of the employee. Perhaps you might discover that there might be problems you had not anticipated regarding the task that has been dispatched. Once this problem has been discovered, you can, along with your employee, work towards a more realistic guideline for their job profile. Avoiding a dictatorial stance allows the employee to be more pliant to your review.

Specificity is Crucial for Critique

Explaining the faults in your employees is more impactful when you outline specific behavior that is an example of their failings. Abstract statements such as, ‘You’re unresponsive’ do not truly highlight the extent of the problem prevalent.

However, as a specific statement, such as ‘You have not responded to any of my e-mails since last week and neither have you fulfilled your deadlines since the past three weeks’ might bring more clarity to what is expected of the employees. Even a simple connection that indicates their failure is sufficient.

Offering critique to the employees thus, needs to be in a specific manner; there should be no room for ambiguity. Providing a feedback that is based on the behavioral deficit they show is more impactful as the employee cannot refute the points made in such an argument.

Create an Action Plan Together

Devise a concrete plan on how employees wish to bring themselves back on track. Try to improve their performance based on the gaps that are present in their work, draft a timeline and communication plan for them. Also state in absolute terms, the framework they have to achieve their goal and the consequences of their failure.

The Bottom Line

If in the next meeting with your employee you find yourself nervous about meeting them, just remember that you can open the discussion by asking them to review their own performance. Your workload can be halved if instead of issuing a summon you engage with your employee in an open dialogue. The gesture would be much appreciated by your employees and involving them in the process can reduce the amount of hassle you suffer through.

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