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Employee underperformance can be a frustrating and costly problem for any business. If an employee is not meeting expectations, it can impact productivity and morale in the work environment. You can use several strategies to address this issue, but it is vital to handle the situation effectively to get the best results.
This blog post will discuss nine strategies you can use to deal with an underperforming employee!
What is an underperforming employee?
An underperforming employee is someone who is not meeting the expectations of their job. This can be due to some factors, including poor skills, lack of motivation, or poor work habits. Whatever the reason, it is crucial to point out the issue as soon as possible to avoid further problems in the workplace.
There are a few key signs that an employee is underperforming. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to have a conversation with the employee about their poor performance.
- Missed Deadlines
- Poor Quality Work
- Lack of Engagement
- Changes in Behavior
- Poor Interpersonal Skills
- Declining Productivity
Related: Communication Phrases for Performance Reviews
Impact of the underperforming employee on the business
The impact of the underperforming employee on the company can be significant. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a poor performer may cost an employee up to 30% of their first-year expected earnings.
There are many reasons for this high cost, but some of the most common include decreased productivity, lost knowledge and skills, and increased stress on other team members. In some cases, a single bad apple can spoil the bunch and cause a lot of damage to an organization.
Mitigating the impact of an underperforming employee is critical to protect your business’s bottom line. Some steps you can take include conducting an accurate assessment of the situation, developing a performance improvement plan, and providing support and resources to help the individual succeed.
While avoiding the negative impacts of an underperforming employee is not always possible, taking these steps can help minimize the damage and get your business back on track.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways to deal with this challenging situation.
Related: Best Leadership Styles in Management
How To Deal With An Underperforming Employee
1. Address the issue as soon as possible
It is essential to address the issue of an underperforming employee as quickly as possible. By delaying, you risk the problem getting worse and impacting more employees. It may also cause the employee to become defensive and less likely to listen to your suggestions. Instead, point out the issue head-on, and be prepared to offer help and support to improve their job performance.
→ How to diagnose the problem
When an employee is not meeting expectations, it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact problem. Is the issue with their attitude, work habits, or ability to do the job? You can have a one-on-one meeting with the employee.
Another way to diagnose the problem is to ask for feedback from co-workers. If more than one person has raised concerns, there is likely an issue that needs to be addressed. You can also ask the employee directly about employee performance reviews and what they think could be improved.
2. Schedule a meeting with the employee
It is important to talk to the employee privately about their performance. This will help to avoid any conflict or embarrassment. In addition, you can explain why their performance is not meeting expectations and offer help and support to improve performance.
→ Asking for Feedback
Give the employee a chance to talk about his performance review and listen attentively to their issues. You may also want to ask for a performance review from a team member. This can help you better understand the problem and how it impacts the workplace. You can ask team members to give you their honest opinion about the situation. Be sure to explain that you are looking for constructive feedback that will help to improve the situation.
Related: What to Say in a Performance Review
→ Investigating further
Once you have talked to the employee and gathered input from team members, it is crucial to investigate the situation further. This may involve talking to the employee’s supervisor or looking at their work history. You should also consider whether the issue is their attitude, work habits, or ability to do the job.
3. Explain why their performance is not meeting expectations
One of the most important things to do when addressing an underperforming employee is to explain why their performance is not meeting expectations. This will help them to understand the problem and hopefully be more motivated to improve. In addition, you can explain what specific areas need improvement and provide resources if needed.
Here are some of the possible reasons why your employee is underperforming.
→ Lack of training
One of the most common reasons employees may be underperforming is that they lack the proper training to do their job. If employees do not understand how to perform their duties, they will likely make mistakes and have a lower level of productivity. To avoid this, it is crucial to provide employees with comprehensive training when they are first hired and to offer ongoing training as needed.
→ Poor work habits
Another common reason for underperformance is poor work habits. This can include arriving late to work, taking long breaks, or not putting forth a total effort. As a result, employees with poor work habits are often less productive and may make more mistakes than those with good work habits. To improve this, managers should provide employees with feedback on their performance and coach them on how to improve their work habits.
→ Lack of motivation
A third reason why an employee may be underperforming is that they lack motivation. This can be due to various factors, such as not feeling challenged in their role, not being compensated adequately, or not feeling like their work is meaningful. When employees lack motivation, managers need to identify the root cause of the issue and address it accordingly.
→ Personal problems
Finally, personal problems can also lead to underperformance at work. This could include health issues, family problems, or financial stressors. When personal problems impact an employee’s work performance, managers must understand and be accommodating. For example, if an employee is dealing with a health issue, they may need flexible hours or the ability to work from home.
4. Offer help and support to improve their performance
Offering help and support to improve their performance is a critical component of any plan to address underperformance. By providing resources and assistance, you are giving the employee a chance to improve on their own. You can also set realistic goals for the employee to achieve and follow up with them regularly to track their progress.
5. Set realistic goals for the employee
When setting goals for an underperforming employee, it is essential to be realistic. It is vital that they feel challenged but not overwhelmed or discouraged. Remember that these goals should be achievable within a specific time frame to track progress.
Here are steps by using which you can set achievable goals for your employees.
→ Determine what you want your employees to achieve
Before you can set goals for your employees, you need to determine what you want them to achieve. This will help you to identify the specific areas that need improvement.
→ Set realistic and achievable goals
Once you have determined your employees’ goals, you need to set realistic and achievable goals. These goals should be challenging but not impossible to achieve. They should also be relevant to the position and aligned with the company’s objectives.
→ Communicate the goals to your employees
Once you have set the goals, you must communicate them to your employees. Be sure to explain why these goals are important and how they will help to improve their performance.
→ Hold your employees accountable for meeting the goals
It is essential to hold your employees accountable for meeting the goals that you have set. This can be done by tracking their progress and providing feedback on their performance. If they are not meeting the goals, you may need to provide additional resources or assistance.
→ Reward employees for meeting the goals
Once the goals have been met, it is essential to reward your employees for their hard work. This can be done through recognition, bonuses, or other incentives. By rewarding employees for meeting their goals, you will encourage them to strive for excellence.
6. Follow up with the employee regularly
If improvement is not seen after giving the employee time and support, it may be necessary for termination proceedings to begin. For this to happen effectively, following up with the employee regularly is essential. This will help you track their progress and determine if they are making any improvements.
→ Track the performance of the employee
When you are following up with the employee, it is crucial to track their progress. Track if they are following the plan or not. This will help you determine if they are making any improvements.
→ See how effective the plan is.
The effectiveness of any performance improvement plan will depend on the individual employee. Some employees may improve with time and support, while others may not. If improvement is not seen after giving the employee time and support, it may be necessary for termination proceedings to begin.
7. Document everything that happens during this process
Documenting everything that happens during this process is important. This will help you track the employee’s progress and determine if they are making any improvements. Documentation of all conversations and interactions should be kept during this time period.
8. Reward Improvements of Underperforming Employees
After taking the actions mentioned above, if an employee is improving his performance, you should encourage the employee by providing incentives. This can encourage them to work harder and improve their job performance. You can offer an employee a few different types of stimuli. For example, you can give them a bonus or raise if they meet specific goals.
You can also give them time off or a gift card if they show improvement. Whatever incentive you choose, make sure it is something the employee will appreciate. They should be given as a reward for progress made by the employee. This will help encourage them to work harder and improve their performance.
9. If improvement is not seen, termination may be necessary
If improvement is not seen after giving the employee time and support, it may be necessary for termination proceedings to begin. Following up with the employee regularly is vital for this to happen effectively. This will help you track their progress and determine if they are making any improvements.
Documentation of all conversations and interactions should be kept during this period for making decisions. Then, take disciplinary action against such employees and terminate them from the organization.
Related: How To Deal With Difficult Employees as a New Manager
Addressing an underperforming employee can be difficult, but taking action as soon as possible is crucial. By talking to the employee privately about their performance and explaining why it is not meeting expectations, you can provide help and support to improve their work. Set realistic goals for the employee to achieve, and follow up with them regularly to track their progress. If improvement is not seen, terminate the employee.
We hope this article has helped guide you on how to handle this situation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need additional assistance. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletters so you can stay up-to-date on all the latest news and resources from interObservers!
Related: How To Have a Difficult Conversation With an Employee
What is the best way to deal with an underperforming employee?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best way to deal with an underperforming employee will depend on the individual situation. However, some tips for dealing with an underperforming employee include offering help and support, setting realistic goals, and following up regularly.
How can I tell if an employee is underperforming?
There are a few different signs that an employee may be underperforming. These can include things like poor quality of work, missed deadlines, and negative feedback from customers or colleagues. If you notice any of these signs, it is crucial to address the issue as soon as possible.
What are some performance goals I can set for an employee?
Performance goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, some goals include increasing sales by 10% within three months or reducing customer complaints by 25% within six months.
What should I do if the employee does not improve after setting performance goals?
The answer to this question is straightforward. Suppose an employee is not improving after assistance. Then, you should terminate such an employee from the organization.
How can a Team member help underperforming employees?
There are a few different ways that team members can help underperforming employees. These can include offering help and support, setting realistic goals, and following up regularly. Team members can also provide incentives for employees who show improvement. However, termination may be necessary if the employee does not improve after taking these actions.
What are some tips for preventing underperformance in the workplace?
You can do a few different things to prevent underperformance in the workplace. These include setting clear expectations, communicating regularly, and providing feedback. You can also offer training and development opportunities to employees to help them improve their skills. Finally, you can create a positive work environment where employees feel supported and motivated.