Managing Poor Performance

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In the greater interest of attaining long term sustainability and overall profitability, organisations today regardless of size and industry, have been obliged to consider more effective and efficient ways of improving organisational performance. This may involve changes to policy, market positioning, objectives, structures, sourcing materials, human resources and even organizational culture. The importance of organisations human resources can either prove to be an asset or a liability depending on how well your staffs are performance managed.

In the hospitality industry in particular, an employee’s performance management approach and attitude can have a greater or lesser effect on the overall profitability driven by guest satisfaction.

Despite the criticality of the subject for businesses, many managers tend to shy away from employee performance management particularly when an employee’s performance needs improvement. Where each employee makes up a large percentage of the business’s workforce, a small businesses, can often find itself in a sensitive spot.

Performance management in the hospitality industry should be viewed as a process for establishing a shared workforce understanding about what is to be achieved at an organization level. By aligning the organizational objectives with the employees’ agreed measures, skills, competency requirements, development plans and the delivery of results a business can get the right people, set employee expectations, coach employees to deliver efficient, high quality service and terminate the employment of the poor performers or employees who do not fit into the organization.The emphasis is on improvement, learning and development in order to achieve the overall business strategy and to create a high performance workforce.

So how do you manage poor performance?

Good staff with great attitude

Focus seriously on your recruitment efforts! What you sow is what you get. Ensure you have policies and procedures in place to undertake extensive and thorough screening and in-person interviewing including criminal, credit, motor vehicle, education and/or other background checks that are legal and appropriate for the position you are seeking to fill. This is where the expertise of a specialist recruitment firm, with extensive experience in the same can allow organisations to operate in an effective and efficient manner.

Introduce formal appraisals

At the heart of performance management in practice lies the need to evaluate or appraise the performance of the people concerned. Each time a supervisor praises, counsels or disciplines a subordinate, some form of performance appraisal has almost certainly taken place. A documented conversation that focuses on competence, ability and potential without making assumptions can provide both the employer and employee with an opportunity to talk about job satisfaction levels and performance. These conversations provide an opportunity for managers to set targets and provide direction, and ensure employees understand how they can contribute to business goals. Any development needs can be addressed, perhaps be training, shadowing, mentoring or project work. A successful performance appraisal, can help a manager and employee achieve commitment to a ‘performance contract’, A succession plan and management development programme that earmark individuals for promotion and identify their particular development needs, A reasonably objective basis for allocating rewards and all the all-important Improved communications.

Be clear in setting expectations

Creating well defined and documented policies and procedures that are easy to articulate and not ambiguous, will help ensure that employees are aligned with your expectations and, hopefully, prevent employees from straying outside the bounds of acceptable performance and conduct.

Coaching and development

Hospitality Industry employers can use checklists, inspection reports, guest service surveys and/or other similar means to give employees feedback on a daily basis, that can have virtually instantaneous impact on identifying and improving performance issues. Coaching and development workshops and training sessions need to be timely, objective, impartial, and consistent and appropriate for the circumstances. Other systems for performance coaching can include, 360 degree reviews, individual coaching and even professional interventions.

Performance Improvement Plan

Whilst not pleasant, Performance Improvement Planis necessary. Including Disciplinary memos specific description of the problem, actions to be taken by the employee to improve, assistance to be provided by the employer to help the employee improve and a clear statement of the consequences, can be effective in rehabilitating an employee before termination is required.

Most organisations fall into the trap of adopting a reactive approachespecially when dealing with poor performance. Rather embracing an active strategyof investing in the preliminary activities of recruiting, screening, orienting, training, setting expectations and creating effective performance evaluation systems can help in creating high-performing employees and thus help an organisation attain its long term goals.

If you are a business owner or a job seeker in the Hospitality, Leisure or Catering sectors, please feel free to get in touch with The Talent Kitchen. We are a leading Hospitality Recruitment specialist based in Sydney with a combined experience of 25 years. Having been on both the sides i.e. client and candidate, we understand the challenges involved in high performing and managing high quality staff and thus what it takes to be a good recruiter.

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