🤭 How to approach employees who aren’t meeting expectations

May 29, 2024

Two opposite women under the caption "Every company has these two and they're always best friends."

🗞️ We interrupt your normal newsletter reading for a service announcement: Trainual will be in retreat mode next week, so there’ll be a missing The Manual Weekly from your inbox next Wednesday, June 5. Don’t worry though — we’ll resume, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the following week on June 12. 

For your reading pleasure:

  • Get your performance improvement plan in place with this template.
  • Tips for talking to employees to get them meeting expectations.
  • How to easily connect how-to’s with delegated responsibilities.
  • And the importance of creating a culture of workplace friendships.


Template of the week: Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Process

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Process template from Trainual

Ready to get real for a sec? No one’s perfect — and sometimes, that means that people aren’t always going to meet your expectations.

At one point or another, you may have an employee who needs a little extra help to reach their potential. Here's what could help: a regimented way to get their performance up and running.

👉 So, make sure you have a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Process (ready and waiting in this template). That way, every leader at your business has the blueprint to support struggling employees with a structured, monitorable plan. 

Check out our entire template archive of free and customizable policy, process, and role starters. New to Trainual? Get a demo.


How to speak to an employee who isn’t hitting the mark

Raise your hand if you hate giving negative feedback. 🙋
It’s not surprising that a lot of people find it challenging to deliver negative feedback. It feels like it goes against everything we were taught about not hurting other people’s feelings.

A man singing "The woooooorst."

Except, employees actually want it.
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 92% of people agreed that “negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” So, let’s reframe the bad rep that negative constructive feedback gets. And if you’re still struggling with it, here’s how to approach talking to an employee who isn’t meeting expectations

  1. Start by defining what success looks like for both you and the employee.
  2. Ask employees to self-reflect and assess their own performance.
  3. Understand how their current performance connects to their long-term aspirations.
  4. When giving feedback, be clear and specific. But also leave room for empathy and compassion — non-work-related issues may be contributing to your employee’s performance.
  5. Provide positive reinforcement and support for your employee’s improvement.
  6. Present an actionable path forward (that Performance Improvement Plan Process template from earlier could come in mighty handy here).
  7. Reset the employee’s expectations moving forward so that their future performance aligns with the business’ goals and expectations.

Okay, so maybe negative feedback isn’t the worst.


Connect content to responsibilities while delegating

Video screenshot of Trainual tips on Delegation Planner

Let’s say you’ve been dying to determine how your employees should — and shouldn’t — be spending their time. So you’ve already beelined it over to the Delegation Planner and got crackin'. 

Here’s what you did:

  1. First, you gauged employee responsibilities alongside their strengths and your company goals. 
  2. Next, you evaluated the time commitment for those responsibilities and how they add up for your people. 
  3. Then using all that information, you delegated responsibilities to who’s best suited for each one. Efficiency in the making.

But remember: When you start delegating responsibilities to new people, there’s a chance they’ve never done them before. And have no idea where to start. 

That’s why it’s important to connect content to each delegated responsibility right in the Delegation Planner — so everyone’s on the same page with how to get it done. And connecting content to responsibilities is easier than ever with the new search menu! Just choose a responsibility, hit “Connect,” and search for a subject or topic.

👉 See exactly what it looks like here.


Why you need to foster friendship in the workplace

It’s time to talk about the power of friendship.
A little too Saturday-morning-cartoons for you? Well, let us put it into terms you’ll understand and appreciate: It benefits your business.

Research shows that stronger relationships on the job (we’re talking best friends pendant status) can increase employee engagement and improve performance. In fact, employees with workplace best friends are more likely to:

  • Engage more customers.
  • Work more efficiently.
  • Share more innovative ideas.
  • Support a safe work environment.
A woman saying "Power of friendship."

And it’s on leaders to help these relationships blossom.
Yes, your employees are adults who have the capacity to build their own interpersonal relationships. But a little nudge from leadership and management can go a long way. Here are three ways to give your team a safe space to develop friendships:

  1. Promote intentionality and give the “Okay” to build friendships on the job. Give your employees time throughout the day to foster their relationships.
  2. Create opportunities for friendships to blossom without work — like an impromptu team lunch, a social event, or even a company retreat!
  3. Build a culture where friendly and open communication is the norm. That way, it’s easier for employees to actively reach out to each other.

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