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How to confront poor performance

Article by Bryan Christiansen

Whether you’re a manager or an employee, annual performance reviews can be gruesome. Even though it can be a little daunting, these reviews are essential for any business, as they can empower or de-empower your employees.

If you’re looking for proven tips and tricks to a successful performance review inside your factory, stick around to find out more.

What’s a performance review?
A performance review formally examines the employee’s job performance over a certain period. Its importance is emphasized due to the fact only around 50% of employees know what exactly their superiors expect from them. 

During this process, managers assess an employee’s entire performance, including their strengths and flaws. At this point, the supervisor can give constructive criticism and help workers set new SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).

3 qualities of a successful performance review
These three qualities make any performance review effective and successful for managers and staff.

  1. Achievement-oriented

Performance evaluations are far too frequently perceived as punishing rather than helpful, which demotivates workers. A factory performance review should focus on ongoing product development and improvement. For example, producing more quality products per hour.

The best bosses praise their workers for their accomplishments and show them where they might grow in the future. Successful progress reviews should provide an opportunity for discussion about achievements as well as opportunities for critique.

Managers should communicate what are they supposed to achieve and address potential methods workers can use to operate at their peak performance. 

  1. Accurate and free of bias

Regular reviews allow workers to respond to what is said in the review instantly. Aside from that, they are more inclined to depict performance accurately.

Supervisors can conduct progress reviews frequently – say quarterly or every six months – to ensure they get updated information.

  1. Realistic and data-driven

A successful performance review is one that’s driven by data and not rumors. Maintenance supervisors should ensure that workers are assessed based on tangible data. For example – how many days they reported late to work, how many defective boxes they shipped, or how much inventory is not accounted for and why. 

5 successful performance review tips for factory managers
If you want to have a successful performance review, consider doing the following things:

1. Set expectations at the start of the business year
It’s essential to be upfront about how you’ll evaluate your staff from the start of the business year. As a manager, you can do a pilot goal planning meeting with your workers in each factory department to go over your expectations and their goals and responsibilities. For example, merchandise grading and packaging protocols and how supply inventories need to be monitored.

A proper setting of expectations will lead to better employee performance. Also, you’ll have the right to hold your workers accountable for their actions at the end of the business year.

2. Build an effective staff communication system
A two-way trafficked conversation will foster trust, unity and eventually boost worker engagement. According to Gallup, only 25% of factory manufacturing workers are engaged at work. This is 8% lower than the overall 33% worker engagement in the US. 

Handling factory workers can be challenging because of the high number of workers that usually work there. Here are a few ways to communicate effectively with all of them:

  • Schedule face-to-face factory meetings

Considering the fact that factories usually have more than a thousand employees, individualized meetings with each worker can be challenging. To circumvent this situation, group workers based on their job description and assign a supervisor to each group.

These meetings enable supervisors to meet on a personal level with workers and review their progress in terms of daily tasks done and shift hours worked.

  • Real-time reporting

Successful performance reviews doesn’t have to necessarily rely on historical data but also on current information. If there’s a problem with a certain worker or a specific factory department, real-time reporting allows for a prompt and almost immediate response and rectification. This saves the company time and resources, as opposed to waiting the issue out until a performance review to address it.

  • Have an open door policy

Maintenance supervisors can have an open door policy where the workers come in, ask question, or share their job concerns freely. To make this policy effective, factory workers can team up and select a representative who’ll be responsible for forwarding their concerns to the supervisors. This avoids unnecessary congestion where all workers want to talk to the supervisors directly.

“The only effective approach to deliver performance appraisals is face-to-face, with enough time to present, consider, listen, and answer” James R. Bailey, Business Professor at George Washington University School of Business.

3. Confront poor performance
If you’re a friendly supervisor and like to sugar-coat criticism, you’re headed in the wrong direction for a successful performance review. Offering niceties will only boost the morale of proficient employees.

During a performance evaluation, confront your ineffective workers such as those who are lazy, report late to their shifts, and pack defective products. Then, demand strict improvement from them. Not only will this push the workers to do better, but it’ll also save your factory some trouble like increased cost of scrap and rework, and unmet operations deadlines.

4. Be objective
When meeting with employees, managers should be prepared with information from various sources, including recent accolades, 360-degree feedback, talent review ratings, and one-on-one information that targets progress. Every claim should be supported by facts, rather than the manager’s subjective judgment.

5. Focus on the future
Performance evaluations have always been focused on the past—how the business year went, what were the highs and lows. Being judged based on circumstances an employee has no control over can be somewhat disengaging.

Most of your performance dialogues should be on how workers can influence what transpires in the future. Managers and staff should also look at and plan to set new goals for each employee and the business.

4 things workers should do during a performance review
Instead of worrying and waiting their turn to defend work achievements and failures, here are some of the things that they can do to prepare themselves during a performance review.

  1. Create Notes: before each performance evaluation, workers should take notes on the discussion topics, objectives, strengths, and flaws.
  2. Jot down examples: factory workers must give specific examples of how they achieved objectives from the previous review and improved altogether. For example, if they maintain equipment, they should be able to prove how many machines they fixed and repaired at a given time. Transport workers should be accountable to the number of shipments they’ve made.
  3. Self-evaluate: workers should simulate a performance review for themselves to learn self-evaluation. They need to sit down in groups per department and analyze accomplishments, ambitions, shortcomings, and strengths.
  4. Bring questions: in performance assessments, workers should be able to ask questions about certain parts that might be unclear to them. It might help to guarantee that all necessary questions are answered if they prepare their inquiries in advance.

Do a performance review the right way
Successful performance reviews are timely, accurate, and future-focused. To conduct a practical employee evaluation, set expectations, give feedback, and coach workers. These performance reviews are like a weighing scale to measure employee effectiveness and gauge their contribution to the company. 

Factory workers can benefit from performance assessments by understanding what they’re doing well, how they can progress, how their work matches with wider business priorities, and what is desired of them. Supervisors that utilize performance evaluations successfully can quickly identify high-performing staff, address problems before they become impassable, and build worker engagement.

    From selling candy bars at elementary school to developing a modern CMMS, Bryan’s entrepreneurial journey is everything but ordinary. Working with industries such as manufacturing, hospitality, and government, he gained valuable experience in task automation, maintaining industrial equipment, and asset management. As founder and CEO of Limble CMMS, Bryan positively impacts lives by letting maintenance teams know that there is an easier way to manage–and get credit for–their amazing work.

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