Inefficiencies irritate me. Most of the time, inefficiencies exist for a good reason. An economic reason such as cleaners being cheap makes R&D for self-cleaning toilets prohibitively expensive. A carpark attendant is still required because for some reason; asshole drivers won't take "no parking" for an answer until an actual human stare you down.
I accept that partial inefficiency is innate
There are times for which inefficiencies exist for no good reason. Humans are inefficient. Most programmers I know (and hire) are not fully productive until they have the right amount of Twitter distraction absorbed before the guilt kicks in. And there is nothing wrong with that. Our brains are not geared to be "on" all the time. I am no better. I ignore such classes of inefficiencies.
Sometimes, an employee independent of time employed becomes inefficient for seemingly no reason. This has happened many times. Often, two reasons trigger a case of poor productivity:
- Something external is bothering the employee
- The employee lacks background knowledge and is learning as he/she goes; learning takes time
External affairs require empathy
When something external is bothering the employee, I seek to empathize. If there is something I can do, I will offer. After all, work is "work." Our (family) life is more important.
These issues get resolved, and the employee will come back stronger and appreciative.
Learning as they go
This is a good thing! When your staff accepts tasks despite a lack of background information, it demonstrates an aptitude for learning. I always give a week for them to pick it up. Anything more than a week is too much. That is when this staff might not be the right fit.
Prolonged deficiency in the rate of learning is a reason for dismissal. I do not take it lightly, which is why I try to manage these dismissals in the first three months of probation.
Anyways, managing people be hard.