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The Fading Superstar

Six months ago you used the Omnia Profile to hire the administrative assistant of your dreams. She's patient, efficient, never makes mistakes, friendly, and...
October 18, 2005

by Sean Neumayer
The Omnia Group

Six months ago you used the Omnia Profile to hire the administrative assistant of your dreams. She's patient, efficient, never makes mistakes, friendly, and great at meeting deadlines. The whole office loves her. You can only hope she lasts forever.

So what do you do when your superstar employee suddenly begins to fade and isn't so super anymore? This is a common problem which too often employers choose to ignore in hopes the situation will disappear. The fact is, if the root of the problem is job-related, it won't just go away. Someone needs to take charge and address the issue.

First and foremost, talk to your employees. Poor communication is one of the most common causes of stress in the workplace. Ask them how things are going, how they like their job. Find out what they dislike or would change if given the option. You may discover the problem isn't work-related at all.

If this is the case, be understanding but let them know it is affecting their performance. The employee may tell you they couldn't be happier. Perhaps this is because they are not comfortable discussing what is bothering them. For example, someone who has a very high column 2 [on the Omnia Profile] dislikes confrontation and will grin and bear the pain just to avoid making any waves.

If talking to your employee doesn't shed any light on the problem, evaluate what has changed since you originally hired them. Review the position description for their job. Does it correspond to their current responsibilities?

Have you given your traditional secretary too many tasks or strict deadlines? Does your salesperson feel bombarded by paperwork? The old saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" has never been more applicable. No matter how much commission you offer your secretary, she is not going to be comfortable or effective as a salesperson. That is not who she is or what she was hired to do. It is very important to maintain consistent expectations of an employee. She accepted the job based on the original job description and workplace environment.

This raises the third point that needs to be addressed. How has the environment changed? Has everyone's workload been doubled and the work pace quickened because of increased business? If there has been any recent restructuring of downsizing, your employees may feel their jobs are also in jeopardy. Recent hires or promotions also tend to cause some friction. If your newest salesperson is easily surpassing the goals and quotas your existing sales staff has been struggling to meet, some animosity is likely to occur.

This is why benchmarking is so important. What does the new employee have that the other salespeople don't? By administering a profile to your existing employees, you may discover what is keeping them from achieving their goals. Is it a work-related issue or personal?

All changes in behavior occur for a reason. The trick is determining the cause and correcting it. Giving your employee another Profile is always a good idea - it is a non-confrontational approach that may help indicate where the problem lies. Omnia's Service Consultants are here to help you, so don't hesitate to call. Whatever you do, don't just give up without a fight and let them go. If they were superstars before then they can shine again.

About the author: Sean Neumayer helps clients screen job applicants and motivate existing employees by assessing behavioral tendencies. He represents The Omnia Group, a company that offers The Omnia Profile® as a hiring and management tool. To learn more, call Sean at 800-525-7117 x 242 or email him at sneumayer@omniagroup.com and let him know you're a PIA member.