Employee Underperformance. Is It On You, Or On The Employee?

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

Your company works hard to get the hiring process right. You focus on identifying the right talent, onboarding them, and making sure that their compensation is competitive enough to encourage them to stay with your organization and keep attrition rates low. Yet many companies miss one of the most vital pieces of turning a positive ROI on their employees by not properly preparing and training staff in their current role.

We touched on how important training is last week but it needs to be highlighted and expanded upon. Now, before you go and say “we have training,” and dismiss the rest of the post, are you actually training employees for their current role? Are you properly trained for your role? Are you training employees for their new roles after promotion? When was the last time you inspected your training process and made sure the information was still relevant?

   1. Inspect What You Expect

In our experience with training programs, it is amazing when an executive sits in and listens to a presentation or hears the content being presented. Majority of the time, the training material is outdated and not relevant to the role that it is being presented to.

Training programs will only be as productive and as effective as the content that is being presented.

Exercise to do: Write down the 5 most important things that an individual performing a job in a specific role should know. Once that is complete, inspect your training material to see if this information is covered and how it is done.

Inspect what you expect. Otherwise, you’re more responsible for underperformance than the underperformer.

   2. Leverage Your In-House Talent and Top Performers

There is a wealth of information and knowledge sitting untapped in your own organizations. The best performing organizations leverage an internal knowledge base consistently..

Not all situations are “apples to apples” comparisons that can be utilized throughout an organization but most top performers in a role will share similar characteristics or ways of doing things.

How to share best practices throughout your organization – sales reps example:

Document how your top performing reps prospect, who they prospect, how quickly they move prospects through a cadence, what makes them different from other reps, etc.

If the individual is not comfortable giving a live training, have them put together a PowerPoint presentation or detailed email that can be dispersed.

Following the presentation, take note of mid and low level reps that put any of the suggested best practices into daily work routines and measure how they improve. Publish this data to the team to encourage greater adoption. This then becomes a fly wheel for that team or business unit.

   3. Rule of 3

Codie Sanchez (if you don’t know her, you need to, she’s awesome!) says it best: if you do something more than 3 times for your business, you should document it.

To take the principle 1 step further, if you do something more than 3 times, you should document it and then inspect it. Inspect that the process is as efficient as possible. If you do this consistently,

  1. You have documentation for all repeatable processes in your organization.
  2. You have inspected all of the repeated processes to ensure that they are efficient, thus making your business and role processes as efficient as possible.

Add some great timing and vision and you have yourself the recipe for a successful business.

Nobody walks into a gym and moves weight or does cardio in a capacity that they are capable of if they haven’t been training. It takes proper, structured training for optimal performance. Without training, expectations are a joke and should be seen as such. Don’t think so? Imagine running a marathon, or even a mile, after months of sitting on the couch. That’s the level employees will perform without proper training. If your business’s expectations are currently being met at a laughingly low rate, time to look in the mirror to see the hard truth.

Let’s get to work.