When it comes to poor employee performance levels, most managers readily commit to training courses, coaching sessions, or a combination of both in order to raise levels to an acceptable level. It is an easy thought-process and a simple solution for them: "employee performance is low, I need to do something to raise it".
In an ideal world this will work, quality and productivity levels will increase, and everyone will be happy with the company running like this.
Fixing something that is broken is the conventional way of thinking about things, whether in the business or in daily life, and it is no surprise that many managers think this way. If times are good and sales and performances are making the business profits and not losses, then everything is fine and dandy.
However, for most commercial organisations, the objective is to make as much profit as possible. More profits provide greater financial rewards for the company owners, which in 99.9% of cases is the reason why they set up or bought the business in the first place, i.e. to make money for themselves. Increased profits will also provide a financial cushion during any loss making years in the future, helping to provide stability and lower the risk of the company running out of money and having to close.
So in actual fact, rather than resting on their laurels and being content with going along at a "good" level, the strongest businesses recognise the need to keep developing even high performing employees. Not only will this drive them on to hopefully achieve their absolute maximum potential, but will also prevent them from slipping back down to a lower performance level (just because they are performing well now does not necessarily mean it will be maintained forever).
Aside from the point mentioned above, in that employees who are currently performing at a high level may not necessarily always stay there, the most pertinent reason is that every employee needs guidance and direction. Without it, despite being a diligent worker and highly productive, they may be focusing these efforts on the wrong things which do not fully work towards achieving the specific goals of the company.
The most obvious example of this is in the sports world. Even though the top teams may have the best players in the world, many of whom will be performing at a high level anyway, they all have full-time coaches working with the players in order to improve their overall performance.
Business coaching and training courses for staff development are all expensive, and so require a certain level of funds to be available. Unfortunately though, if manager's stick to conventional thinking, there is never actually a good time to spend this money!
During good times, despite the money being available, we have already seen above how many managers will be happy that things are going well, and so don't feel the need to invest any money on staff development.
During bad times, budgets will tighten and costs will try to be reduced. Bad times are sometimes caused, and usually exacerbated by, poor performing individuals. As the negativity builds and swirls around the company, the situation often turns into a downward spiral and things continue to get worse. This is the time when training, development and coaching are at their most needed... but there is no money available!
So there's no money being spent in good times, no money being spent in bad times... so when does employee development actually take place?!
The best managers, and the most successful businesses, understand the need for continuous development of their employees. Not only this, but they recognise that it is just as important to provide training and coaching to those already performing at a satisfactory or high level as it is to those who are currently underperforming.
To achieve this state of mind, managers need to get out of the habit of only even thinking about employee development options during times of struggle. This reactive rather than proactive approach can cause problems for the business, or at the very least make it fall far short of its potential, and hamper its performance.
Essentially, yes. Performance is on a scale, ranging from no effort at one end to being physically/mentally incapable of giving any more or doing any better at the other. A high performer and a low performer will just be further along the scale from each other, and both are likely to be encountering barriers and issues which are stopping them from advancing further along the performance scale.
In both cases, the coach will work with the individual to identify these issues and create action plans to address and overcome them. Business and performance coaching is all about getting the person to perform at a higher level, no matter what their starting position.
Every employee is different, and there will be those who like to almost be left alone to get on with their tasks without "interference" from management trying to change them. This is a delicate situation, and one in which managers and business coaches need to tread extremely carefully.
On the one hand, employees cannot be given completely free licence to do what they want. They will need direction, guidance, feedback and goals to ensure that what they are producing is actually 100% focused on achieving the objectives of the business, and that they are not going off at a slight tangent which although may be thorough, is work which is not fully satisfying the requirements of the business. When managers are the ones paying the employee's wages, they are entitled to want some form of control and monitoring of the work being produced.
However, there is also the danger of upsetting a high performing employee. In severe cases, their output may plummet, or they may even decide to leave and join a competitor in the same industry.
A skilled coach will be able to tailor their approach in order to motivate the person to improve even further, whilst at the same time making sure they receive recognition and praise for the level they are currently at. The coach will be able to inspire the individual to want to achieve even more, rather than making them feel like they are being pushed.
The BCF Group have evolved from the Business Coaching Foundation, which was established in 2001. We have leadership development and business coaching at our core. Having representation from global learning leads, executive coaches and talent development specialists, we deliver accredited people development programs.Find Out More
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