Performance Management: Has Your Employee Got The Time to Perform?

performance managementI’ve been writing a lot recently about one of the key challenges in performance management – closing the employee performance gap (gaps a gap between; a) what you want and need from your employees and b) what you are actually getting from your employees). In this article I’m going to take a look at a performance management issue that many managers I know face on a regular basis   – when our employee tells us that they don’t have time to perform effectively

Performance Management: Is a lack of time causing your employee to underperform? 

Is it possible that you have been over ambitious in defining what effective performance looks like for this employee’s job? You wouldn’t be the first manager who, in a fit of performance management enthusiasm, has set (for example) too many performance objectives (I know I’ve certainly made this mistake!). If your employee is telling you they don’t have enough time to perform to the standards you’ve agreed the first step is to do some analysis in order to establish if:
a) Your employee actually does not have enough time or
b) Your employee does have the time, but they aren’t using that time effectively or
c) They are using ‘lack of time’ as an excuse or to mask some other reason why they are under performing   

Performance Management:  A quick ‘lack of time’ analysis

There are a few questions you can use to help work out what’s happening:
Are other employees (doing the same job) meeting their objectives? 
Clearly if they are then we can assume this employee does have the time but, for some reason, is not using that time effectively (more on this below)  
If none of your employees are meeting their objectives (and assuming you are not unlucky enough to have whole bunch of incompetent employees) then I think we can assume you would be wise to revisit the number of performance objectives or standards you have agreed – on the basis that you seem to have defined ‘effective performance’ at a level that no employee could meet 
One of the key skills within performance management is flexibility. Performance objectives (or any performance standards) are not meant to be set in stone. Sometimes we realise, after the objective setting meeting, that we have been unrealistic. We simply then need to adjust the objectives  
Can your employee demonstrate that they are managing their time effectively?
It’s possible, of course, that you cannot compare this employee’s performance with other employees (maybe because they have a unique job). In this case, can your employee demonstrate that they are managing their time effectively? 
One way to check whether your employee is unable to meet the agreed objectives or standards through lack of time is to ask them to complete a simple time log (there’s a good example of a time log and how you use it by HERE)
You can then work with them to analyse how they are managing their time
If they are managing their time effectively, but still can’t meet the objectives, then (as above) you will probably need to re visit the objectives
Very often you will see – from analysing the time log with them – that they need to improve their time management and, as part of your ongoing performance management activities, you would then go on train or coach your employee in how to improve
At the very least your employee will no longer be able to use lack of time as a reason for their underperformance and you can then go on to explore what the real reason is 

Performance Management and Time to Perform

 For some employees ‘I didn’t have time’ is the first reason they give for underperformance. For many managers (who have time pressures themselves) it’s a reason they find easy to accept. Often effective performance management – and particularly performance management related to closing ‘performance gaps’ – is about standing back and taking time to analyse the root cause of the performance problem
Would you like to see a systemized, step by step approach to managing employee performance AND have a tool to help you assess where you can improve your management practices? Then claim your copy of my special report ‘Boost Your Business Performance through Effective Employee Management’ HERE   


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April 26, 2012

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