Employees make mistakes from time to time. Perhaps they don’t clearly understand what you want them to do. Maybe they didn’t thoroughly consider all the information or potential results before making a decision. When mistakes occur, it’s your managerial duty to decide how to handle the situation. You need to take steps that involve the employee’s input for finding a solution and creating lasting change in their behavior.
Follow these suggestions to effectively talk about employee mistakes and improve performance.
Come up with questions aimed at changing future behavior. For instance, “If we did this project again, what could we do differently to change the results?” Or, “How could I have better supported you and your team?” Ask the employee to get back with you the next day with their thoughts. This encourages them to focus on finding solutions rather than a new job.
Give the employee feedback about the problem. They may need more information about a situation in order to change their behavior. Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. For instance, instead of saying, “Can I give you some feedback?” say, “Here’s my reaction.” Rather than suggesting, “Here’s what you should do,” try, “Here’s what I would do.” Instead of saying, “You should do X” when asked for advice, respond with, “What do you feel you’re struggling with, and what have you done before that worked in a similar situation?”
Use the 8D Model
For a higher-level mistake, implement the 8D Model to modify employee behavior. The D stands for discipline, meaning an area of study or influence. This model encourages the team to understand the problem and provide an answer. Begin by planning the time, people, and resources required to resolve the issue. Choose individuals with diverse skill sets and product/process knowledge. Define the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the problem. Create and implement a temporary solution to contain the issue. Use tools such as cause-and-effect diagrams to determine the root causes of the problem. Create a permanent, systemic solution that addresses the root cause. Implement the corrective actions, then verify their effectiveness. Focus on areas of the solution that need work, then modify practices, procedures, and management and operation systems to address potential issues in the future. Recognize your team’s efforts in solving the problem.
Improve Employee Performance
Your employees won’t change their ways if you simply tell them what they’re doing is wrong. You need to ask questions, provide feedback, or use another effective method to enhance employee behavior and bring about lasting change.
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