Written by Benjamin for iqDynamics
Recently, HCAmag.com reported that a shocking 96% of Singaporean employees reported that they had problems managing poorly-performing employees. As any HR professional or manager can tell you, under-performing employees can cause a variety of problems at the workplace.
Whether it’s the spread of a toxic workplace culture or falling productivity level, problematic employees are detrimental to the organization. Unfortunately, this situation tends to leave leaders and HR professionals in a quandary.
On one hand, you could always consider terminating and under-performing employee. However termination can be a contentious issue which can lead to further problems down the line. Alongside this, so-called under-performing employees may sometimes be going through a rough patch and merely need some additional guidance.
Taking such drastic action will deprive the organization of a potentially talented individual who can add value to the business. Alongside this, employers also recognize the fact that Singaporean businesses are in the midst of a talent crunch with many firms struggling to retain top talent.
Hence, with the exception of the worst cases, many Singaporean employers and managers prefer to provide training and counselling to their employees. A situation which unfortunately takes up a significant proportion of their time.
What this means is that employers are forced to sacrifice valuable company time in order to retain and retrain their under-performing employees. This leaves them with less time for more value-added tasks which will lead to burnout and exhaustion on the long-term.
Recognizing the challenges faced by managers and bosses in Singapore, iqDynamics’ HRM system features a variety of performance management and training modules to give employers the edge that they need.
In this article, we take a look at how HR can alleviate the burden carried by managers when it comes to counselling and training under-performing staff.
In a time of fast moving technology and constant innovation, employees need to constantly improve themselves in order to remain relevant. Employees who are unable or unwilling to update their skill sets will end up being left behind.
Eventually, their inability to up-skill themselves will result in them hitting a glass ceiling in their careers. More advanced positions will not be available and this in turn adversely affects the morale of said employee.
From here, work performance and productivity begins to fall. The employee may become disengaged or even toxic as their frustration mounts. On the long-term, the employee falls into the category of a poor performer and may be the subject of a performance improvement program (PIPs).
Alongside this, the employee will be required to attend a variety of counselling and training sessions directed at improving their performance. These initiatives while well-meaning, consume time and may not produce the desired outcome.
Rather then thrusting managers and leaders into the role of counselor, HR professionals should instead take proactive action to lend employees a helping hand. Instead of allowing employees to fall into irrelevancy, iqDynamics’ HRMS features a comprehensive training module that can be geared for a variety of learning styles and strategies.
For example, managers and HR professionals can develop a comprehensive competency framework that sets the benchmark for desired skills related to each specific role within the organization. From here, appropriate training programs can be developed to help employees develop the skills they need to improve themselves.
By taking a proactive stance on employee upskilling, HR professionals can equip their employees with the skills they need to remain relevant and effective. Besides that, training programs will also serve to build up employee morale while allowing the organization to develop a pipeline of talent.
Under-performance is a general term which denotes that an employee is not meeting the expectations set for him/her. When an employee is identified as a poor performer, managers and HR professionals would usually call for additional training or counselling to be conducted in order to improve said employees performance.
Unfortunately, this one-size-fit all approach oversimplifies the challenges faced by managers and HR professionals alike. Sometimes, issues related to performance may not have any relation to an employee’s skill set or abilities.
In some situations, the problem could be one of accountability or even behaviour. For example, Joe is a highly-qualified sales representative with years of experience working in one of Singapore’s top electronics distributors. However, in recent months his supervisor notices Joe’s sales have begun dropping.
Despite attending numerous training classes and coaching sessions, it looks like Joe still can’t achieve his sales targets. Out of frustration, Joe’s supervisor seats him down and asks him point blank why can’t he achieve his targets. Joe replies that despite him achieving solid sales for several years, his efforts were not recognized and he was passed over for promotion several times.
Recognizing this, Joe’s supervisor advises him on how he can improve himself in order to land the next promotion and offers to coach him. Within a few weeks, Joe’s sales have begun to improve.
From the example given above, it can clearly be seen that there is a disconnect between the employer and employee. While the organization’s performance management system was only able to identify that there was a problem, it was not able to pinpoint and rectify said issue.
Instead of relying on intuition and guesswork, we at iqDynamics use a 360° performance management system that invites employees, their subordinates, their superiors and their peers to provide feedback. By looking at a wider variety of factors, it becomes easier to pinpoint challenges and issues faced by employees.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, an employee may simply be the wrong fit for a particular organization. Investing millions in training and talent development are all pointless if any employee is not suited for a particular role.
HR professionals and employers in Singapore are unfortunately guilty of being over reliant on the paper qualifications. Consequently, this can result in unsuitably skilled candidates being taken on for a role which does not suit them.
While paper qualifications are by no means unimportant, the fluidity of the real world calls for employees to be armed with the appropriate soft skills needed to tackle practical issues. Thus when dealing with a poor performing employee, employers need to determine if said employees skill set and personality is a right match for his/her role.
For example, putting a people person in charge of number crunching and detailed analysis may not exactly be the best decision when he/she is best suited for a role which calls for people skills.
Hence when conducting performance reviews, employers need to recognize that the strengths and abilities of each individual employee differs. When working with a poorly performing employee, employers can perhaps recommend that they make a lateral move to a role that better suits them
Unlike a demotion, a lateral move gives the employee the opportunity to improve himself/herself. By doing so, the organization does not lose out on potential talent and may allow an employee to tap into their own hidden potential.
While managing poorly performing employees can be tricky, with the right approach and proper HRMS, you can turn a difficult situation into a potentially beneficial one. At iqDynamics, we are constantly upgrading our range of HRMS to better suit the workplace of tomorrow. If you are looking for an HRMS you can contact us here today!