Staff Discipline & Appraisals
Staff discipline and appraisals fall firmly into the ‘necessary evil’ category of recruitment agency management. However, if approached and conducted in the correct manner, such occasions can be an added value management tool, both for the benefit of you and your staff.
Most employees respond well to some sort of discipline and appraisal strategy. As long as you reward and remonstrate where necessary, your staff can see that you are trying to operate your recruitment agency in a fair manner. After all, you are the boss.
It is too easy to fall into the ‘nobody does it as well as I do’ category when you launch your own business. It can be hard to let go and allow people to do things their own way. While it is important to have a ‘house style’ and have certain practices completed in the way you see fit, there is always some leeway for your employees to express themselves. Don’t forget that in a sales environment, as recruitment is, your staff need to feel positive and motivated in order to make the placements that will bring in the money. Think of the bottom line before you decide that your way is always best.
Minor DisciplineDay to day issues need to be ironed out quickly and effectively. If you just turn a blind eye to repeated lateness, or personal phone calls then you cannot decide six months down the line that you want to clamp down. It is far better to make it clear what you expect. If you don’t mind your staff being late sometimes, fair enough, it can be a happy little perk to get the odd Starbucks on payday. However, if one of your staff is regularly trotting in half an hour late and still leaving dead on finishing time, then you need to speak up.
Minor disciplinary issues need a light touch or you can look like a petty boss. Don’t embarrass your staff by saying something in front of everyone, but don’t make a big deal out of reprimanding them either. You could start by privately saying ‘Are you having a problem with your journey to work at the moment?’ if they have been late more than a couple of times – that way, if there is an issue with childcare or their mode of transport, you can be flexible for a short period.
Repeated Disciplinary IssuesRemember that you are the employer here, not a colleague or friend. If this is your first experience as a boss, you may find it difficult to discipline your staff, but the truth is that your staff will control you unless you take charge.
Most repeated disciplinary issues occur because they were not nipped in the bud early enough. If one of your consultants is constantly late, you will need to make a formal issue. Have a written disciplinary procedure available for all staff and stick to it.
A Fair AppraisalAppraisals are an excellent way to motivate your staff, as long as they feel there is a benefit in performing well in their job. Not everyone wants to be the best they can be, some people just want to get away with as much as possible. Make your appraisals appealing, fair and positive so your consultants are keen to work hard. Don’t try to catch them out, or criticise small issues.
Try using the ‘compliment sandwich’ in your appraisals. Start with a positive comment about your consultant, then point out something that needs to be improved and then follow with another positive. Repeat until all issues have been covered. This keeps the appraisal positive, without missing out on the important details that need addressing.
Make sure you give your consultants time to talk to you in their appraisal and raise any issues that may be bothering them. This will stop the appraisal seeming like a school ‘telling off’ and more of a development opportunity.