Are you on your boss’ blacklist? Here’s what to do if you suspect you’re

As bosses grow skeptical of employee productivity, a prominent entrepreneur advises managers to keep tabs on who’s doing and not doing their weight.

According to Jay McDonald, an Atlanta-based executive coach and entrepreneur, managers should keep mental lists of people they’ve cut in case they find themselves forced to let people go.

“Business leaders should always rate their employees from most productive and most valuable to least, in case they have to downsize,” he said. Fortune.

“Everyone is facing economic headwinds, not just from rising interest rates and supply chain issues… inflation is at record highs. People are paying more for the hand labor, materials, etc., and all of this cannot be passed on through price increases.

Although the practice of listing may seem somewhat callous, McDonald’s, which currently works with more than 100 CEOs, business owners and executives, argued that employees could also benefit from the listing technique.

“It also ensures that leaders reward and pay attention to high performers as well,” he said. “Every business should assess its ROI of technology, success, people.”

McDonald said the context of the list was to look at what individual workers do and assess the productivity of their role, which doesn’t necessarily correlate to how hard they work.

“They may be great employees, but they need technological innovation, in which case you would want to retain them,” he said. “You can also keep a list in the context of what you pay people versus ROI for customers, your goals, etc.”

Find solutions

As business leaders recounted Fortune keeping abreast of employee performance was important, they agreed that there were avenues employers and workers could follow to prevent lower ranked workers from losing their jobs.

Alina Vandenberghe, co-founder and co-CEO of tech startup Chili Piper, which has an all-remote workforce of about 250 employees, said Fortune that while keeping an eye on underperformance could benefit both parties, employers were often responsible for underperformance, usually due to a lack of clear communication.

“Underperformance can occur for a variety of reasons, such as required skills not being clearly defined during the hiring process, required skills have changed but were not communicated well to the employee, or the employee is just not motivated to execute on their career goals,” she said.

“It is essential to determine which of these categories an underperforming employee falls into so that managers and management can take appropriate action to help them succeed. »

Vandenberghe suggested that employers could use digital progress trackers to identify and measure the skills required for individual roles in their company.

“With this, everyone knows exactly what is expected of them at each level, and more importantly, what skills they need to master to be promoted to the next level,” she said.

Invest in training

However, Abakar Saidov, co-founder and CEO of talent management startup Beamery, disagreed that maintaining a performance-based ranking was the best method to maintain productivity. high.

“Of course, employers should be interested in how their workforce is performing, but rather than keeping a list of those who are underperforming, they should be thinking about methods to improve performance and help their workforce. -work to develop,” he said. “Now is the time for companies to invest in training and development programs that meet the individual needs of employees.”

A recent Beamery survey of 2,500 UK workers found that more than a third of employees would be more likely to stay with their current employer if they had more opportunities for lateral changes or were better supported with training and development.

“Providing employees with progression paths improves engagement, motivation, and ultimately performance,” Saidov said.

Jill Cotton, Career Trends Expert at Glassdoor, said Fortune that while it was crucial for employers to correct underperformance, the most important part of performance management was to address the root cause of an employee’s slump in productivity.

“Leaders should look for key signs of underperformance among employees, including lack of enthusiasm for work, repeated mistakes even with support and direction, failure to show initiative in the role , struggling to achieve goals and not getting along with other-workers,” she said.

“Pure laziness will rarely be the reason for a worker’s inability to fulfill his role. Instead, the employee may feel burned out, unchallenged, see no clear career progression in the company, or be forced to work under poor conditions or with limited resources.

What to do if you are underperforming

For those who suspect their boss is unhappy with their performance, there are steps to take as well.

Vandenberghe advised those in doubt to have an open conversation with their manager, noting that employees and bosses have a responsibility to ask for and offer help.

“Ask them frankly what you need to do to go from ‘underachieving’ to ‘achieving’,” she said. “You cannot follow a dark path without light. But also look deeper. What are your strong points? Are they aligned with the requirements of this position? If not, it might be worth exploring other options.

Meanwhile, Cotton said employers and employees should work together to come up with “a clear, individualized plan” to get productivity back on track, with clear goals on how to move forward to a better, more efficient space. .

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