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Monday, December 28, 2020

SMART CONTACT is Key to Redirecting Performance

I always say that “silence is acceptance” which essentially mean you deserve what you tolerate. It is a necessary part of any organization to give feedback to employees based on their expected performance. Sometime positive discipline is needed to shape up poor performers. The discipline you apply should be aimed at correcting behavior or performance, not punishing the employee. Many times a correction can be accomplished by a friendly discussion with the employee.

This discussion with an employee needs to address two elements:

       1. Confront the employee with a specific critique of his/her
       2. Address the need for performance improvement.

There are two acronyms I have learned that can help you do this right. The first is CONTACT, used when confronting an employee, and the second it SMART, used to address the improvement.


C stands for "comprehensive." Write a comprehensive memo describing the history of the issue and why now is the appropriate time to write up the employee for poor performance.
O stands for "objective." A supervisor should get HR's input on an evaluation. A second set of eyes helps the supervisor be more objective. Supervisors should also hold onto whatever they write for at least 24 hours because that break in time can change their perspective.
N is for "no charity." No charity means not being dishonest for the sake of complimenting the employee. It's always a good idea to identify something the employee is doing well, but you should not tell an employee that he or she is doing something well if it's not true.
T stands for "timely." The feedback has to be timely. It's wrong to write up an employee for something that happened 6 months ago.
A stands for "accurate." Make sure the facts in an evaluation are absolutely correct and independently verifiable through calendars, appointments, and other sources.
C #2 stands for "candid." Be straightforward and honest about an employee's performance.
T stands for "training." Employees need to know what is expected of them with any position. Supervisor training and coaching employees are essential when it comes to managing employees.

Now, SMART is similar to that used when setting goals and objectives but with an emphasis on improving individual performance.

SMART Keeps You in Line

S stands for "specific." You should specify what the performance issue is.
M is for "measurable." Whatever you're asking of the employee must be measurable.
A stands for "achievable." The improvement needs to be reasonable and achievable, best accomplished through agreement.
R is for "realistic," which ties in with achievable. A goal is not realistic if it's not achievable within the stated time frame.
T is for "turnaround.” When do you expect to see the desired performance?

In this situation it is important to remember to understand then try to be understood. Listening is the supervisor’s first line defense. If an employee is struggling with an objective it is usually the result of a poor explanation from the supervisor. I believe everyone wants to do a good job but should you need to address a performance gap remembering CONTACT and SMART can help you redirect the employee’s performance.

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