Ethics - Performancing somebody out

Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
217
There's a front end team member who has been there a long time and is mediocre. The kind where you have to keep on them about breaks, being away from the workstation, and engaging guests. When you get on them, they improve for a little while into acceptable performance, but soon slide back into mediocrity. I'm under pressure from the higher ups to give them ammo to get rid of this person, basically.

Part of me gets why they want to fire this person, and before I was a TL I would have agreed. But I'm kind of a softie now. Losing the job would be devastating to this TM, and they would be getting fired just for doing what they have always done. Regardless, I have to do what the bosses say.

My ethical question is whether or how to let the TM know they are kind of on the chopping block. I want them to have fair warning so they have a chance to step it up. But that feels like it's overstepping my role or undermining the power structure a little.

Opinions/Experiences?
 

Black Sheep 214

Kiss no butts, give no fox
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
Messages
2,441
I would let them know, that will put the burden on them to decide whether or not they want to step up or lose their job, and will give them the opportunity to plan for their future. To deny the TM in question this knowledge would be inhumane and unethical. Even the poorest performing TM deserves to know that their job is on the line if they don’t improve rather than to be blindsided. Since your leadership may not approve of your informing the TM, in the interest of self-preservation you need not broadcast it to them. Improving the TM’s performance is your responsibility as much as performancing them out would be, and if you need to tell them it’s their last chance to improve that would not be overstepping your role, it’s a necessary part of it. Good luck to both of you.😊
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
Messages
41
I imagine you’d need (or already have) a lot of PPDs to begin corrective action and with each one you should set the consequences. So, in reality, it shouldn’t be a blindside. They know the behavior in question, they know how they need to improve, and they know what will happen if they don’t, but it’s up to them to be better. That’s being accountable. Of course, if they need additional training, you’d support them, as the goal is to see a performance change. However, in my experience, this has rarely happened and usually when the pressure to perform better comes to a head, most TMs self-term.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
Messages
41
Also, performance managing out basically is terming at all costs, even if it’s the smallest thing to build a case: not necessarily fabricated, but not entirely based on truth either. This doesn’t appear to be the case, as they’re fairly visible issues, however. Usually, in my experience, the term performance managing out is usually targeted at leaders, especially TLs. But YMMV.
 

Yetive

Servant of 2 Masters
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Messages
6,498
If it is to that point, you need to let them know.

I would pull pdds CAs, even the expired ones. Just level with the person--over the past 3 years, you have had several conversations about . . . with your leaders. You show improvement for awhile, but you haven't sustained your performance over time. Expectations for your position have changed in that time. If you want to keep your job, you will need to improve your performance quickly, and maintain the improvement.

I would also tell them that you will talk again on their next shift. That gives them a chance to digest things, and either come ready to work on it, or ready to start looking for a job. You need to come with expectations, routines, and resources for them.

That only works if your leaders are willing to let you work with the team member. If not, instead of saying, "if you want to keep your job," you will say something like, "you have shown that you are unwilling/unable to consistently perform at an acceptable level. We will be meeting weekly to discuss your performance."

If there are not many pdds or CAs, you may want to talk to your leaders about the fairness of not giving the tm a chance to improve. Sometimes, people think there have been more convos than there actually have been. Also how have the reviews been for this tm? Again, how fair is it if they have been DIO all along?
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
275
Watch out. This could totally turn on you. After you tell the team member they may freak out and let it known that they know. Then you look bad for telling. I have seen this happen.
 

commiecorvus

Former Signing Ninja
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
18,202
The entire concept of performancing someone out is disgusting to me.
If you have someone who is capable of straightening up and doing well but slips back to being as you put it 'mediocre' maybe you want to have a conversation about that.
Why can't they stay on task?
Why don't they stay motivated?
Is there something they are seeing that you don't?
If it's a fault of their own then you have to call them out for it, that is a fact.
But if there are outside issues, the work environment, depression, etc. you are going to have to take that into consideration.
This would also be a chance to explain to the TM that you are looking closely at the performance in a professional context.
They deserve that much.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2017
Messages
973
A lot to unpack here.

1. Performance goals someone out should not be a surprise to the TM. By the time you are having “you’re going to get fired” conversations, the TM has usually been warned at least 5 times that their behavior is unacceptable. You should not need to sit them down special and tell them they are going to get fired. They have decided that what they are told doesn’t matter or isn’t important and that you’re all just mean and riding them for some made up reason.

2. Pick three things that MUST be improved. They all need to be performance things that are measurable. Ideally you have already been coaching for these things, but if not, they are your new favorite things in your department. If they don’t do them on Monday, pull your TM into an office and coach them. Do it again on Tuesday. Every day, until they either fix the problem or your HR gives the go ahead for a CCA. In the CCA, line out the steps to termination. How many chances they have, how many coaching to a final, etc.

3. If they keep up not doing what you ask, then keep on that plan. Your GOAL should be that they learn and improve and become a productive TM. So help them find ways of doing what you’ve asked. They probably won’t.

4. Coach your whole team on these specific points. Not just your targeted TM. You want to demonstrate that these behaviors are expected of everyone. If everyone is already doing them, hand out recognition regularly. This cuts down on the “she hates me specifically!” And your targeted TM turning the rest of the crew to distrust you.

5. Eventually the targeted TM will either shape up or quit. They almost never stick around long enough to get fired.

6. Always coach with the intent of having this specific TM be a better employee. Coachings are not punishments. They are opportunities to teach. You will get much better results if your TMs believe you want them to improve vs you can’t wait until they quit. It’s important that your problem employees do not have an opportunity to poison morale.
 
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
500
Well telling them might be the push they need to do better. They were just doing the bare minimum and generally not giving a shit becuase nobody gave them a reason to and they think they could do whatever they wanted and still have a job. They could secretly wanna to get fired because they are sick of the job but don't want to be a quitter. My friend got herself fired for that reason.
 

Planosss reborn

User friendly.
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
3,530
The entire concept of performancing someone out is disgusting to me.
If you have someone who is capable of straightening up and doing well but slips back to being as you put it 'mediocre' maybe you want to have a conversation about that.
Why can't they stay on task?
Why don't they stay motivated?
Is there something they are seeing that you don't?
If it's a fault of their own then you have to call them out for it, that is a fact.
But if there are outside issues, the work environment, depression, etc. you are going to have to take that into consideration.
This would also be a chance to explain to the TM that you are looking closely at the performance in a professional context.
They deserve that much.
Some peoples just need to be cut, OG.

Edit: in the metaphorical sense.
 
Last edited:

commiecorvus

Former Signing Ninja
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
18,202
Some peoples just need to be cut, OG.

Edit: in the metaphorical sense.

Fair enough, but do it ethically.
And give the person a chance to improve.
A good boss tries to figure out how to motivate their employees and keep the assholes up above from shitting all over their people.
It isn't easy but it's worth it in the long run.
 

Tessa120

Current game: Thief
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
5,279
A) As far as tell or not tell, what is the choice you can best live with?

B) If the higher ups need "ammo," then are the behaviors directly stemming from a medical issue/accommodation issue making firing for those behaviors illegal, and TPTB are trying to find a way around legal protections?
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
1,052
I've sort of been in your situation while working for another employer.
Is there a way to come along side the person and help them see how to boost their performance permanently? And at the same time explain that this is maybe a bigger deal than they're thinking. None of is guaranteed a job and even in the current job market (sort of tight in my area), jobs that start at $15 aren't that plentiful.
As far as being performanced out, and I'm not sure this is still true, but I was told a long while back that a TM would be coached 3 times for the same issue before being terminated for it (assuming it's not theft or something equally egregious). Has this TM been formally coached yet? Maybe that would help shake up their thinking and push them to do better.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
217
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
I haven't replied yet but thanks everyone for your perspective. Still thinking about how to handle this.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
31,565
If it is to that point, you need to let them know.

I would pull pdds CAs, even the expired ones. Just level with the person--over the past 3 years, you have had several conversations about . . . with your leaders. You show improvement for awhile, but you haven't sustained your performance over time. Expectations for your position have changed in that time. If you want to keep your job, you will need to improve your performance quickly, and maintain the improvement.

I would also tell them that you will talk again on their next shift. That gives them a chance to digest things, and either come ready to work on it, or ready to start looking for a job. You need to come with expectations, routines, and resources for them.

That only works if your leaders are willing to let you work with the team member. If not, instead of saying, "if you want to keep your job," you will say something like, "you have shown that you are unwilling/unable to consistently perform at an acceptable level. We will be meeting weekly to discuss your performance."

If there are not many pdds or CAs, you may want to talk to your leaders about the fairness of not giving the tm a chance to improve. Sometimes, people think there have been more convos than there actually have been. Also how have the reviews been for this tm? Again, how fair is it if they have been DIO all along?
Follow this option, @NotCynicalYet
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
35
I've had this same thing happen to me multiple times. My worst STL printed out a break sheet and made me grade everyone on my team a number between 1-10 anyone less than a 5 had to be performanced out if they weren't salvageable. She was completely insane and I'm glad she was eventually fired after her bullshit caught up with her. I never felt more gross as a TL and I've had to do some really difficult things for my leaders.
 

MrT

Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
439
There's a front end team member who has been there a long time and is mediocre. The kind where you have to keep on them about breaks, being away from the workstation, and engaging guests. When you get on them, they improve for a little while into acceptable performance, but soon slide back into mediocrity. I'm under pressure from the higher ups to give them ammo to get rid of this person, basically.

Part of me gets why they want to fire this person, and before I was a TL I would have agreed. But I'm kind of a softie now. Losing the job would be devastating to this TM, and they would be getting fired just for doing what they have always done. Regardless, I have to do what the bosses say.

My ethical question is whether or how to let the TM know they are kind of on the chopping block. I want them to have fair warning so they have a chance to step it up. But that feels like it's overstepping my role or undermining the power structure a little.

Opinions/Experiences?
The fact that you would of agreed before being a tl means that you understood that they are making it so other team members needed to step up so that they could continue being mediocre. Acceptable performance for a bit then back to mediocrity isnt acceptable. I get it people need their jobs and you can feel bad. If they cared that much theyll change. Keep having the conversations, put then on a ca and if they don't change that is on them. There are plenty of other jobs out there. It takes so much to get someone performanced out that it truly is on them to save there job.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
124
This is part of being a TL at Target now. Set expectations and hold people accountable. Expectations will continue to be raised. . I was told I always needed to be trying to get rid of my bottom performers, either make them quit or get enough documentation to term them.

I was also told I'd better be documenting people, or my boss would be documenting me. That is the culture at my store now.
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
330
I've had this same thing happen to me multiple times. My worst STL printed out a break sheet and made me grade everyone on my team a number between 1-10 anyone less than a 5 had to be performanced out if they weren't salvageable. She was completely insane and I'm glad she was eventually fired after her bullshit caught up with her. I never felt more gross as a TL and I've had to do some really difficult things for my leaders.
Most DSD's actually do this for ETL's. Not so much of a 1-10 and performance them out but more of a rank your ETL's based on performance.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
77
The fact that you would of agreed before being a tl means that you understood that they are making it so other team members needed to step up so that they could continue being mediocre. Acceptable performance for a bit then back to mediocrity isnt acceptable. I get it people need their jobs and you can feel bad. If they cared that much theyll change. Keep having the conversations, put then on a ca and if they don't change that is on them. There are plenty of other jobs out there. It takes so much to get someone performanced out that it truly is on them to save there job.
We have all excellent performers however the TL don't require everyone to carry a walkie, or respond to backup cashier requests, or jump on OPU but hold everyone accountable for ALL their workload. Not fair. Take me away for 20-30 minutes and still want me done on the clock?. BS.
 
Top