How do you deal with an employee who doesn't honor his/her own commitment often? If you have faced a similar situation before, share your success story dealing with such an employee.

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VP Talent, Learning & Organisational Development in Manufacturing, 10,001+ employees
Hi Zsofia, can you be a bit more specific? Do you mean an employee who is not meeting his/her objectives to deliver against or a person who is not meeting made commitments per lagging projects and is not taking ownership and accountability? Just to make sure I can help a bit more. 
1 4 Replies
VP of Engineering in Banking, 201 - 500 employees

Hi Ingrid, it's more related to ownership and accountability. The employee made a commitment by himself/herself that a task would be finished by X date. Past the X date, the task was still not done and no proactive update was given to explain. Despite being reminded a few times, this continues to happen often.

I'd like to gather some ideas how we can approach this kind of behavior more effectively.

VP Talent, Learning & Organisational Development in Manufacturing, 10,001+ employees

Hi Henry, all clear.  The manager of the employee, with support from HR, has to prepare the meeting to go through the facts and observations. The employee has to be given the chance to explain what happened (maybe something privately has been distracting him...) The outcome of the meeting is being documented and a realistic timeline is given to improve, this can be done through a performance development plan that both manager and employees put together and that will be followed up with weekly or bi-weekly meetings where updates and progress are reported. If there is no progress made, the manager has to decide to either exit or consider to put the person in another role and give him a 2nd chance, providing the person has been showing the willingness to change and is demonstrating the right behaviors. Else it is an exit.... Does this help?

VP of Engineering in Banking, 201 - 500 employees

Yes, this is helpful, Ingrid. Thanks for your suggestion.

Are there any other approaches that we can do before involving HR and a formal performance development plan? Any coaching technique to improve the employee that might help in this situation?

Executive Advisory in Manufacturing, 11 - 50 employees
As noted by others. communication and a clear understanding is always important, but the message to the employee needs to be this: if they cannot be trusted to meet commitments then they will never advance and instead, they will be treated as a worker bee who will need to have someone managing them. This should get the point across to them and also brings into the light this question - is the company willing to have such an employee on the payroll?
Director of IT in Government, 10,001+ employees
Recently I have been blending RASCI, CSI, CMMI, and Portfolio Management methods. RASCI for defined accountability and backup. CSI for showing improvements. CMMI for defining a rubric of maturity, and portfolio management to create a reviews of Programs progress.

Helping, to teach, coach, set targets, and trend. Will see in 18 months if it works.
Founder, Self-employed
Interesting question. This issue has been around for as long as I can remember.

Accountability is important to the team's progress.

What works best from my experience is to indicate the designated person's name for the team's task and report contribution status as it is throughout the process timeline.

That way everyone sees it as it is. It's fair, transparent, direct, and straightforward.

And, a few more ways to encourage productive team members to collaborate with one another, depends on the team culture too.

After a while, the issue most likely will work out on its own, some will pick up their share or some will come forward that they can no longer support the roles.

Hope that helps.
VP of Supply Chain in Transportation, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Great question. In reading the comments a lot of agreement on accountability.

I would add that (if you have not done so already) that you need to have a common understanding meeting as to why this is a repetitive issue and probe as to what barriers he or she is facing that prevents them from following through. Restate your own expectations.

I also would suggest pairing this individual with another peer who can perhaps coach them. In my own experiences, sometimes gains can be made through leveraging peer relationships to bring people along, rather than the boss to direct report dynamic.

In either case, there too should be stated consequences for ongoing bad behavior and habits. 

Lastly, I would recommend that the employee be involved in developing their own corrective action plan. This ensure buy in by them which can improve accountability.
CDO in Software, 10,001+ employees
It’s important to understand the why, offer help and then agree on actions, the rest is on seeing the results. Do not spend too much time managing the situation if there re no real results in the short term, that means there is no intention in shifting. Keep in mind is not only that individual, but the whole team and organization around him/her that are being impacted.
Vice President & Chief Information Officer in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Clarify of goals through continuous checkin’s help. Sometime we don’t know what what is really going on with his or her personal life so putting ourselves in their shoes and help would create trust.

Some candidates may be unreal, those require personal development plan and should be worked through your performance system with clear goal with 30 or 60 days, and if candidate can’t make it, you might need to replace or put him or her on the right role as sometimes candidates might be in the wrong job too.

There is no one answer to it 😄
Chief Supply Chain Officer in Consumer Goods, 51 - 200 employees
1. Communicate: Have a one-on-one conversation with the employee and discuss the issue. Ask them why they are not able to honor their commitments and if there is anything you can do to help them.

2. Set clear expectations: Make sure the employee understands the importance of meeting their commitments and set clear expectations for what is expected of them.

3. Follow up: Check in with the employee regularly to see how they are progressing and if they are meeting their commitments.

4. Provide support: Offer support and resources to help the employee meet their commitments. This could include additional training or coaching.

5. Hold them accountable: If the employee continues to not honor their commitments, hold them accountable for their actions. This could include disciplinary action or termination if necessary.
2 1 Reply
Senior Director, Supply Planning, Philips Connected Care in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees

Prashant, I think this is exactly the right framework. The one thing I would add is that you need to consider culture as well. Particularly if the issue seems to be persistent, it could be a lack of common understanding, or the forum of how the task is being assigned. For example, in certain cultures it could be considered disrespectful to push back on a manager in a larger meeting forum such as a staff meeting. Follow up 1:1 is the most critical in all cases to make sure expectations are clear.

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