How to deal with under performers

by | Jun 21, 2022 | HR Resources

Dealing with underperforming employees is not easy. However, it’s better to address the situation rather than ignore it.

Poor performance can have such a detrimental effect within the business, financially, reputationally and just as importantly on the workforce.

Here’s our advice on how to tackle poor performance.

How do you define poor performance?

Underperformance is when an employee is not meeting the standards expected within the business. Each role within the business should have a standard set of duties, tasks, responsibilities and even targets. Falling below these standards would be dealt with via the Company’s performance route.

What is causing it?

To begin to understand what causes an employee to underperform you need to identify the following

• Have clearly defined tasks been set for the role and how this contributes to the business needs?
• Have the above tasks been explained clearly to the employee?

• Has the employee been given enough training?

• Is the workload too much?

• Have you hired the wrong person? Does the employee have the necessary skillset or experience to be able to carry out the role?

• Does the employee feel unappreciated?

• Is the communication between management and employees effective?

• Are there any personal reasons affecting the employee?

• Is there anything else that could be hindering performance?

Once you’ve gathered answers and information for these, it should become clearer what factors are causing poor performance.

How to speak to an employee about it?

Before things get too formal, having an informal one to one chat with the employee may be all they need to get back on track.

Avoid emotional confrontation, no one wants to say something they’ll regret.

Don’t forget that regular performance reviews such as annual appraisals, monthly or quarterly reviews and 121’s can address performance issues (and also recognise good performance) on a more frequent basis that isn’t prompted by poor performance specifically.

Time to move on…

A good way to be able to move forward is showing the employee where they fit in the company and how they contribute to achieve the company visions.

If you haven’t already set objectives this is your next step.
These goals must be achievable, so the employee doesn’t feel like they are being set up to fail. Set a timeframe of when you feel the employee should be able to achieve the targets and arrange to meet regular in between these dates.

Any concerns already identified should be addressed as well as any areas of support or training that the company is going to provide and who is responsible for arranging this.

All of the above is documented on a performance improvement plan (PIP) template that both the employee and the manager has access to.

It should be made clear to the employee what the repercussions of failing to improve at the end of the PIP period will be – typically processing down the capability route.

If any mitigating circumstances are highlighted such as a toxic work environment or workplace stress for example, these must be investigated separately. Likewise, an employee with a disability should have reasonable adjustments considered. These are more specialist areas, and we recommend you get in touch with Spire HR for assistance before starting any formal process.

How Spire HR can help.

Our team of expert HR Consultants will provide support to your business, managers, and employees to get the best from your people.

Find out more here or get in touch today on 01925 626253.

Getting the best from your people

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