Employee Performance Case Study Essay

Problems inside the Slough branch and options to improve employee performance

There are several key issues that impact the Slough branch. These include poor management, a lack of motivation of employees and ineffective communication between the workforce. The manager is perhaps one of the major problems in this subsidiary because his lack of professional management skills impacts on the employees and their work.

As a manager and team leader, one aspect of supporting staff in periods of high demand is to help them manage their time more effectively and thereby help to reduce their stress levels and work pressures.

Mr. David Brent, the manager of this branch, fails to do this for his staff. One failure on Brent’s part is his inability to deal with the impending merger with the Swindon branch. His lack of acknowledgment of the change results in unease amongst the workforce. His attitude in general is poor and he fails to act professionally.

It has been suggested that considering training as an investment decision could vastly improve motivation in the workforce[1] but that this should only be done after careful consideration.

Looking at the theory of leadership by Burrhus Skinner, an American psychologist, we assume that leadership capabilities are rooted in characteristics possessed by individuals and these skills are not necessarily in every individual[2]. If we consider the theory as true, we can easily conclude that David Brent is not a good leader as he does not have relevant characteristics. Referring to Peter Drucker’s ideas[3], the leader’s job is to prepare people to execute and operate effectively and then give them freedom to do so. David Brent is failing to do this which suggests that specific training would be useful. In this case, introducing training is essential to improve the skills and the attitude of David Brent. With this type of training, the aim should be to change some of David Brent’s behaviour, particularly to his employees. For example, he must change the way he talks to his employees, he does not know how to interact in a professional way with them to the detriment of the managerial relationship. He also does not enforce order; nor does he follow company procedures. If these issues were properly addressed, then there is the possibility that staff motivation may increase knowing that proper leadership is in place.

Another issue in this branch is the ineffective communication between all levels and departments of the workforce. This does not allow for improvement in the employees work and it often leads to them being lazy and unproductive and even, on occasions, disrespectful towards their colleagues.

The employees, even if they attend some work meetings, are not able to express themselves properly because the manager does not allow them to do so. Instead, he spends much of his time in meetings trying to be friendly and relatable at the expense of communicating issues and tasks with the team.

In this case, to improve and increase the communication in this branch, it would be useful to introduce a “discussion group” once a week[4]. This type of meeting would be with all key employees and the manager to talk about any problems and all situations approaching that week. All staff could be involved in identifying the vital goals and develop procedures and strategies to reach those goals. This session should ideally last about 30 minutes and be on a fixed day each week so that the whole team has a joint focus.

Perhaps the biggest factor damaging the employees’ performance is the impending merger with the Swindon branch; the insecurity of their positions makes them worried. However, due to the poor management, the staff do not feel motivated to work as they are not held accountable for their actions. As they rarely get disciplined for their absence of productivity, they do not feel that they need motivation to work. Also they do not receive any feedback on how they work, meaning they cannot improve their performance or find out if they have done well. All these factors put their jobs at greater risk.

One of the ways we could improve motivation in the work force is to consider Locke’s theories on motivation and set specific goals for the employees to achieve[5]. Locke set out that it is through working to specific aims set by both manager and employee that a person’s work can improve. This could be made possible by introducing one-on-one meetings between the manager and all members of staff. By having regular appraisals employees could track their performance and be motivated to improve as targets appear more achievable. These sessions should be done each week with all employees struggling with meeting their targets. Perhaps if the employees feel more motivated to achieve their targets they could begin to feel more secure in their positions at the company.

Overall, I think that we should work very hard to change all the problematic and inappropriate situations because all the lies combined with unprofessional behaviour has deeply damaged the integrity of the Slough branch.

Employee Appraisal for Gareth Keenan

When deciding what appraisal system to use for Gareth Keenan I looked at many major models to find one which would best show his potential within the company. There are several jobs appraisal systems that could be used, however I have evaluated the strengths of these and concluded that the best system in Keenan’s case is Wether and Davis’ ‘Ratings Scale’[6].

I first looked at the Checklist method to try to evaluate Gareth Keenan’s work[7]. This system requires the user to work through a list of the employee’s capabilities and answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The problem I have found with this system is that it is not very motivational. By answering simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’, the results are stark and it is difficult to motivate Keenan if his appraisal results mainly in ‘no’. It could be hard to see if he improved between meetings as this method may not show small improvements he has made.

The second appraisal that I looked at is the Forced Choice Method[8]. This method is made in blocks of two or more, and the rater indicates which statement is most or least descriptive compared to the employee.

Again, I find this procedure not useful for Gareth Keenan because the many aspects of his job may not be properly framed in this restrictive format. This employee has not got a big personality but he tries, often with bad results, to be a good supervisor and to be appreciated by the manager and the rest of the staff. He needs to see any improvements even if he does not yet do enough to be seen as a good employee and supervisor by them. This will allow him to gain confidence in what he does and set targets for improvement in all aspects of his job, not just ones set out in the Forced Choice Method.

Overall I decided to use the Ratings method as it is the most simplistic and it allows for easy personalization relevant to the specific role and shows an easily understandable scale of competency. This table can show the various activities and performances required by the employee inside the workplace and crucially, it provides a scale of performance allowing for easy interpretation of key successes in Keenan’s work, as well as areas in need of improvement.

This kind of appraisal can show every little improvement, or every worsening skill set, that the employee has therefore allowing for a clear sign of progression between ratings. This could be useful for Gareth Keenan because it should motivate him to improve and if the appraisals are held often enough, show his constant growth in areas for development.

Also, as comments and suggestions can be attached to this appraisal system it can help him to change his approach to his work and suggest a change to his style of his communication for him to work on. Furthermore, I suggest a ‘personality test’[9] for Gareth Keenan, in order to understand which aspects of his personality he could work on more to improve his relationships with his coworkers.


Dwyer, J. R., Career Development and Advancement Patterns of Aboriginal Executives in the Canadian Federal Public Service, USA, 2000

Skinner, B. F., Science And Human Behavior, USA, 1965

Drucker, P., The Practice of Management, Oxford, 2007

Ledlow G., Coppola N., Leadership for Health Professionals, Burlington, 2011

Cole, G., A., Human Resource And Personnel Management, London, 2004

Aswathappa, K., Human Resource And Personnel Management, New Delhi, 2005

Manna, G., Introduzione alle tecniche per la valutazione della personalita, Palermo, 2006

[1] Career Development and Advancement Patterns of Aboriginal Executives in the Canadian Federal Public Service, Rocky J. Dwyer, 2000.

[2] Science And Human Behavior, B.F Skinner, 1965.

[3] The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker, Classic Drucker Collection Edition 2007.

[4] Leadership for Health Professionals, Gerald Ledlow and Nicholas Coppola, 2011.

[5] Personnel and Human Resource Management, Cole G. A., 2004.

[6] Human Resource And Personnel Management, K. Aswathappa, Fourth Edition 2005, p. 243.

[7] Ibidem, p. 244.

[8] Ibidem, p. 244/245.

[9] Introduzione alle tecniche per la valutazione della personalita, Giovanna Manna edito da Franco Angeli, 2006.

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