If you haven’t had to suffer through an “incompetent” worker, consider yourself lucky. Whether due to flimsy hiring practices or the implementation of new equipment or strategies, many practitioners find themselves dealing with one or more employees who simply can’t seem to “catch on.” Here are some suggestions to help you approach employees who are falling behind the learning curve:
- Recognize that the issue may not actually be the employee. What may at first appear to be incompetence could be an equipment issue, for example. Resist coming down on the employee before being certain that the problem is not originating someplace else.
- Make sure that you are communicating clearly. Many problems can be resolved with better communication. The employee’s issues could be the result of confusion, for example, if the employee is receiving conflicting instructions or misunderstood how to properly complete a task.
- Document all issues. This is a big one. Many employers fail to document employee issues until they have reached a termination stage, if they complete any documentation at all. Err on the side of caution and thoroughly document any and all issues that you have with your employees, as this documentation can help to protect your practice should a dispute later arise.
- Be patient. This is especially true when it comes to new employees. If you have not hired anyone in a while, it may seem as if a new worker is taking a long time to learn a system with which your current employees are already acquainted. If you take the time to properly teach your new staff members, they are likely to catch on and resolve any current issues.
- Make the tough decisions when all else fails. Running a business means accepting the fact that sometimes an employee is just not the right fit. If you have followed the steps above to no avail, it may be time to accept the fact that this hiring decision was not the right one. As long as a termination or discipline decision has not been made in haste and you have sufficient documentation to show why such a decision was necessary, you can reassure yourself that actions adverse to an “incompetent” worker are being made in the best interest of your practice.