Delivering A Poor Performance Review

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about giving a bad review:

I am required to carry out a poor performance interview about rudeness, poor timekeeping, failure to wear the correct corporate uniform and not providing the information requested. What is the procedure and are there any performance improvement procedures I could use?

Signed, Conveyer Of Bad News

Dear Conveyer Of Bad News:

You don’t say why you are required to do a performance interview? Who ever is required to supervise this individual should have conveyed corrective advice at the time of the infraction. Was that done? If so, how did the individual react and was there improvement? Also you don’t say how long this person has been employed?

Surely one with this many defects deserves a warning and a probationary time to make correction, and if not then to be sent to training or fired. In preparation for your performance interview, you need to have a log of instances for each of these charges; when and where and who was involved. That is instances of rudeness, poor timekeeping, inappropriate dress, and who didn’t get the needed information. The interview should be private unless there is a need for a face-to-face confrontation of the individual and the one who complained of her/his defect. Hopefully, at the start of the interview, you can begin with a statement about the importance of his/her job and some good that has been done.

Of course you should be forthright about the purpose of the interview. That might follow with a general question, such as: How well do you think things have been going here? Or what has gone well and what has been a problem? This should lead into the list of problems. Kindly but firmly state each performance problem and invite this individual’s response. This should not turn into a defensive rebuttal, but into a problem-solving collaborative conversation.

In simple language, spell out together in writing the dos and don’ts of what is expected. Possibly a copy of the individual’s job description will support these expectations. Set a time line and follow up times to meet to review how well they are met and also the consequences if they are not met, perhaps each Friday. Performance appraisals are stressful on both those conducting them and on those called in for them. Civility and respect are essential to a positive outcome. Each of us needs to save face and to be accepted. Therefore, being told we fall short is hard to swallow. So protect this person’s ego at the same time you are helping her/him face up to the shortcomings. My favorite mindset for you and hopefully for the individual is embedded in the statement: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Please tell me if these thoughts are helpful and how the interview goes.

William Gorden