Have you ever had an employee or coworker who is underperforming? Have you ever let their low performance skate along for longer than you should have? Did their low productivity ever rub off on you, causing you to underperform? Did you then stress about the individual and how they are affecting your standard or the company standard? I can tell you, I most certainly am guilty of all of these things!
It is so easy for our standards to get cloudy because we need someone. We will let a lot slide because having someone underperforming is still better than having no one. Maybe your own standards and values are not clear to yourself and your company, so you are unaware how big of a problem they are. Maybe, you do not need them, you just think you do. If you take a 1000 foot view of the situation, how crucial is this individual to your operation? Are they irreplaceable? Will you have to put in some extra work, to cover their position while you hire someone else? Is their attitude or standards effecting others around them, bringing the whole organizations morals down? Would you get better results from your other employees if this individual was gone?
When I was with my previous company, this is something we struggled with all the time. We needed 24/7 staff, so having a body was crucial. If they underperformed, we justified it with, well its better than no one. To a point, this is accurate, however, this caused massive confusion within the organization. Other employees who were studs, ended up becoming problem employees because they saw the standard was not being held. So, they would tick the standard down and down. This resulted in poor work moral, poor values, poor work ethic, and a lot of turnover.
Believe it or not, your staff, want to be held to a standard. They want clear expectations and values. If there is a problem employee, who is infecting your culture and standards, you need to remove that infection. There is of course remedial action steps to take first. Maybe a second chance or write ups can be given. If it continues, you need to cut your losses to not infect the rest of the organization.
So, this week, I tried out a new sub contractor. It was my first time using him on a construction site but second time using him for work. The time I needed him for a maintenance call, he responded and did the job. The second time I called him for a maintenance call, he said he would go, then canceled on me hours later. So, I decided to give him a second chance and try him on the jobsite. The first day, he showed up and did the job. I did not have the best gut feeling about the situation but I wanted to see how it played out, maybe I was judging off of our first encounter. The second day, he messaged me 20 minutes before work and said he had some stuff come up and he would be a couple hours. I did not hear from him until 530pm that night. Second chance was failed.
I messaged him the next morning and explained we would not be able to work together. Told him about the two chances I gave him, how his standards do not align with my standards and I would meet up with him to pay him for his day of work and bring him his tools. He took the news well and was professional about the situation. I knew I had to make this call because I did not want to impact the quality and standard we have set with all of our subs we currently work with.
This is not an easy thing to do and confrontation is not fun. However, it is absolutely crucial if you want to have a good company culture and perform at a high standard.
Sometimes you just need to rip the bandage off.
-Your life Tutor