NOV 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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Confronting problem employees by Ophthalmology Business Staff Writer Stepwise approach to dealing with problem behavior at work W hether the problem is simply tardiness or as serious as sexual harassment, confronting an employee about unacceptable behavior is seldom easy. When dealing with such a situation, John Riordan, senior consultant with Cindy Zook Associates, Leesburg, Va., advises that managers first consider what he calls the "20-60-20 model." The model reminds managers that in any large organization there will be some proportion of employees who are high performers (e.g., 20%), a larger pro- 14 portion who are potential performers (e.g., 60%), and inevitably some employees who are nonperformers (e.g., 20%). "It's simply a bell curve that serves as a check point to [determine if] this is a problem employee as in, 'I still see potential and I think we can turn this around,' or this is a problem employee as in, 'They're bringing weapons to the work place or using drugs,'" he explained. Mr. Riordan said it's an important check point because he's learned the hard way, having seen people use the wrong approach to solve a problem. It is important for a manager to pause and consider just how serious the problem is—that is, determining if this is a matter of giving feedback, monitoring performance and encouraging development, or whether it crosses a line, which may require formal discipline, he said. It's helpful for managers to have a roadmap so they don't get into a situation where somebody sneezes and they're suddenly in a termination process. "Just because someone lost their temper once doesn't mean you need to terminate them just yet. But you better make a clear choice about how serious it is and therefore which level of engagement you take. If they lost their temper and swore at another employee, that's pretty serious—maybe they won't be fired, but you have a spectrum of options," he said. First and foremost, all managers need to be thoroughly familiar with the company's human resource policies so they know where they stand if the employee has done something continued on page 16 Ophthalmology Business • December 2013

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