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How Can I Address Performance Issues With My Remote Team?

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

A question I've been asked over the past week by clients is 'How Do I Manage The Performance Of Remote Workers?' As one manager put it 'Everyone now has a workspace at home, a laptop, cell phone and access to MS Teams. We have daily update meetings and now I have a team member who doesn't seem to be working as they should.'

Two things came to mind for me in our conversation, firstly, were there any personal issues for the individual and secondly, what was their performance like before they began remote working. If their performance was good prior to the change in working practices, then perhaps a non-work related issue may be the problem. However, if their performance wasn't up to expectations before they began remote working then this may be a pre-existing situation that is being exacerbated by remote working.

As it turned out it was the latter. The individual concerned was an employee whose performance walked the line between acceptable and unacceptable, never quite being poor enough for the company's disciplinary process to kick in. The manager asked for my help, so we talked through how to get things back on track.

What I've put together is a model that is simple and easy to use so managers can structure their conversation with some preparation beforehand so that when they sit down with the individual, that conversation is a lot smoother, a lot easier to do and has a positive impact.

It's called...

The BEEF Model

1. Behavior:

Are we able to be really crystal clear with the individual what it is about their behavior, what they're doing or not doing, that's causing the problem?

If it's somebody that's being late attendance, are we really clear about that's the issue? If it's about an aspect of their performance, perhaps they're not completing their work on time, we're really clear that that's the behavior that's causing the problem.

2. Examples:

We don't need a long list, but we need two or three very clear examples that we can give to somebody that can demonstrate exactly when and how the problem occured.

I'm thinking in this way that we can get there in terms of times and dates and a short explanation of when the incident occurred.

Sounds good, what about putting it into practice? Click the link to join me for our Lunch n Learn Managing the UnManageable Remote Worker on May 5, to learn how to put this into practice in the online environment of remote working.

3. Effect

This is the sort of secret sauce...

It's the effect that their behaviour is having on other people on the team and in the organization and even our wider customers.

Why is this important is people can often rationalize away their behavior.

"Oh, well this was because of X, Y, or Z."

"This is why I was doing this on this particular occasion."

But what they can't do is rationalize away the effects of their behavior and what it's having on the people that they work with or the customers that they have.

For example, go back to attendance...

We have a member of your team that always comes in 10 to 15 minutes late. Not too much a big deal.

You know, my bus was late, I didn't catch my train, my car didn't start; whatever the excuse may be.

But the effect that it has is that their co-worker, John, always leaves work late and then has to go and pick up their kids from daycare and is always faced with additional charges.

That's the effect.

The effect they can't argue with.

Their reasons for why they were late ... Well, they'll come up with whatever excuse that they can think of. So, having the effect clear as to what that means for the team is important.

To give a second example with that, perhaps it's somebody who hasn't produced their report on time. What was the effect that it had? Well, you sat in a management meeting with the VP operations and when they asked you for the update, you couldn't give it to them or you had to waffle around what the problem was because you didn't have that information that your team member was supposed to have done with you.

Again, as you can see the effect: serious.

And it's something that they can't argue that that didn't happen.

4. Future

Our last part of that conversation is about the future.

What do we want to see that's changing going forward?

What is that person going to be doing differently that's going to solve the problem that we have?

Don't leave that conversation until you've made sure you've locked that down.

Just to recap, folks....

Preparing for your conversation with a team member, make sure that we know:

  • What the BEHAVIOR is that's causing the issue,

  • EXAMPLES that will illustrate it,

  • The EFFECT is that's having on others, and

  • what FUTURE we want in terms of their change and behavior.

Don't forget to click the link to join our Live Online Lunch n Learn Managing the UnManageable Remote Worker on May 5, to learn how to put this into practice in the online environment of remote working.

Well that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this article and I'll be back next week with more, until then ... be a leader not just a boss!

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