Keep Your Team Operating at Peak Efficiency

Problem: An employee is falling short of your expectations.

Scenario: Too often, managers let employees coast as long as they’re causing no major problems. Rather than confront an employee, a manager will tolerate a few missed deadlines or below-par work. Don’t be content with mediocre performance. It reflects poorly on you and sells your employees short.

Assess the situation carefully. Sometimes employees are “burned out” from boredom or stress, stagnant from being stuck too long in one position or assignment, or underperforming because they lack the skills or knowledge to perform well.

Solution: Like a piece of machinery, employees need regular maintenance to stay in top shape. Investing in training can fix small problems before they turn into predicaments.

Even though a car owner may complain about having to spend money on a tune-up, most people understand that such expenses are necessary once in a while. Reason: If a car needs a tune-up, it’s probably not operating at its peak. Gas mileage may decline, or perhaps the ride just isn’t as comfortable. Changing the oil or replacing the spark plugs improves the car’s performance. The same is true of employees receiving a tune-up.

Follow these steps to keep employees operating at peak performance:

  • Diagnose the problem. Identify your concerns and set objectives for the problem employee. Determine what training is necessary for the person to reach goals that you agree upon together.
  • Identify the objective. Before you send an employee to any formal training session, meet to explain why the training is necessary and how the training is intended to help the employee.
  • Choose the proper tools. Present training in a way that will match your staffer’s learning style: group or individual sessions, in-house or outsourced training, or resources such as CDs, DVDs, Webinars or books.
  • Evaluate each training session. Ask staff for written evaluations of their training and set up a method for determining outcomes, such as whether staff errors diminish after the training. Tip: Create a team training manual that lists each training session and what staffers learned from it. That will help your team continue to improve and build on each session. It’s also a great way to document progress and avoid repeating unneeded training.

Considering that dealing with poorly performing employees costs U.S. businesses an estimated $105 billion each year—and that managers spend 14% of their time redoing or correcting the mistakes of others—employee training may be one of the most important expenditures an organization can make.

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Delivered each month, Bud to Boss Take 5 offers you advice for resolving your most perplexing management problems. Even better: You need only 5 minutes to read each issue of the e-letter and find workable solutions that you can put to use immediately!

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