So your shiny new staff person is less than six months into the job, and now you’re seeing cracks?
Have you made the wrong hire?
They seemed so good when you screened them.
Their references were great, they started out really enthusiastic, now they seem to drag their feet into work. What’s happened?
Has this happened to other past employees?
Sometimes we can be too quick to throw the baby out with bath water and miss an opportunity to solve a reoccurring issue.
Remember – recruiting staff is not cheap.
1. Change it up
Some roles are naturally hard to keep people in for long term.
Mundane or repetitive jobs usually have 5-6 months before the shine comes off them. If things don’t change you can expect mediocre performance from even the most enthusiastic staff person. It is human nature. Our minds NEED stimulation. To avoid a slow career death, you as manager need to change it up. Create a challenge.
What is a real company problem that they can help solve?
What production KPI’s can you make a game of achieving?
Good people want to work for a company they are proud of, one that is improving. Involve them in creating that, by giving them a personal stretch project with a measurable outcome.
Perhaps change their environment slightly or role slightly.
Research at the Hawthorne Works in, Illinois, on lighting changes and work structure changes such as working hours and break times were originally interpreted to mean that paying attention to overall worker needs would improve productivity.
Later interpretations suggested that the novelty of being research subjects and the increased attention from such could lead to temporary increases in workers’ productivity. This interpretation was dubbed “the Hawthorne effect.”
2. Pay attention to their work
Pride in work can easily be lost if recognition is missing.
We naturally modify or improve an aspect of our behaviour in response to awareness of being observed.
If we see others taking credit for our work or being rewarded for not producing then we naturally first get angry, frustrated or annoyed, if nothing changes we think “what is the use”.
Make a habit of acknowledging the things that you like in the way that they do their work…especially the small things.
3. Pay attention to them as a person
Take them out of the work environment, find an excuse to talk about anything but work. Get to know them as a person. You’ll start to understand what they are motivated by. You might even find that they have some personal issues that are holding them back.
4. Check for substance abuse
Drug addiction is when someone must use a drug to function in their life.
The drug addict will not always display obvious signs that they are abusing drugs.
Often, addicts maintain jobs and relationships and give all the outward signs of not having any drug issues.
Alcohol or drugs issues are more common than you may think.
Last year hundreds of Victorian drivers were caught drug-driving just before Christmas, with one in 11 drug tests coming back positive.
Regular sick days on Monday, constant mistakes and clock watching are symptoms.
Some obvious signs are:
- Glassy eyes
- Slurred speech
- Injection marks
- Agitation and irritability
- Stealing money or valuable objects
- Changes in physical appearance
Other subtler signs include;
- Marked changes in appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Inability to concentrate
- Smell of drugs or heavy scents to mask odours of drugs
- High tolerance to drugs or alcohol
- Unusual examination of common objects
- Bloodshot eyes, extreme thirst, decreased coordination, damage to mucus membranes.
5. Require Medical certificates
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) section 107
In Australia, an employee has to let their employer know that they are going to take sick leave.
This has to be done as soon as possible, and can be after the leave has started.
They should also specify how long they will be off or expect to be off work.
Employers can ask an employee to give evidence to confirm why they have been away from work at any time. This includes even if an employee has only been off sick for 1 day.
An employee who doesn’t give their employer evidence when asked may not be entitled to be paid for their sick leave.
An employer can ask for evidence from an employee to confirm that they were unfit for work. This can help decide if an employee should be paid sick leave or be paid a different type of leave or entitlement.
Medical certificates or statutory declarations are examples of acceptable forms of evidence. While there are no strict rules on what type of evidence needs to be given, the evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee was genuinely entitled to the sick or carer’s leave.
A workplace policy or registered agreement can specify when an employee has to give evidence to their employer and what type of evidence they have to give.
Example: Workplace policies on sick leave
Anna is a full-time employee at a retail store. When she started, her employer gave her a handbook that said if an employee is sick on a Monday, they need to provide evidence that they were sick. Anna was sick with a cold over the weekend and had to take the Monday off. Anna gave her employer a medical certificate when she came back to work on Tuesday in line with the workplace policy. She was paid for her day off.
As a manager you have a duty to protect and grow your company.
Like all people problems, the only decision you need to make is whether to fix the problem or get rid of it.
Putting up with it is not a solution and is a downward slide for you and all that are connected to your team.