University Human Resources
Poor Quality Work
Poor quality work may be the result of a myriad of problems. Do not assume that progressive discipline is the correct intervention until you have thoroughly explored other courses of action. Listed below are action steps that address common issues underlying poor work.
- Remove or eliminate distractions.
- Explain, in detail and in behavioral terms, what acceptable performance is. Communicate performance standards.
- Arrange for training if the employee lacks appropriate skills.
- Provide an opportunity for practice of seldom-used skills so that they won't get "rusty."
- Practice giving clear written and oral instructions and ask employees to restate the instructions you have given to verify their understanding.
- Redesign or enrich the position.
If the employee is overwhelmed by the quantity of work, make sure the work load is sensible. Conversely, if the employee says the job is boring, add more and different activities to the job that add responsibility or authority.
- Provide necessary supplies and equipment.
- Provide regular performance feedback.
- Develop a Performance Improvement Plan.
- Follow up on the Performance Improvement Plan at designated intervals.
- Be certain that poor performance is not being rewarded. As ridiculous as this sounds, often times poor performance is unintentionally rewarded. For example, if one clerical employee types poorly and as a consequence receives fewer assignments than other clericals the perception may be that it is better to do worse. Do not withdraw tasks from the job description. Try to fix the problem.
- Remove any "punishments" that result from good performance. The inverse of suggested action number eleven. Does exemplary performance result in additional work? Do coworkers put pressure on others to underperform?
- Establish and clearly communicate consequences for poor work.
If the situation still exists, begin the progressive discipline process.