What to Do About Underperforming Employees

Martin Lowenstein

February 2, 2023

Often, employees underperform because they have personal issues that affect their work. Talking to employees about these issues can help them regain focus and reinvigorate their work ethic. However, many managers struggle to discuss about underperformance openly. They don’t want to embarrass the employee or make the situation worse for everyone in the office.

Performance reviews can be a difficult time for managers and employees alike. They can also be an opportunity for both parties to discuss goals, career progression, and personal development.

Here are some tips for conducting a performance review to make these meetings more productive.

First, set a clear standard and timeline for evaluation. Then, please describe the specific aspects of the employee’s performance you want to address and the action plan with SMART goals they need to take.

The best organizations don’t see performance reviews as one-way streets where managers speak and employees listen. Instead, they use them as a part of larger cycles of consistent feedback and recognition that power change.

Talk to the employee.

One of the best ways to address an employee’s performance concerns is to talk to them in person. While it might be uncomfortable to have this conversation, it can also help quickly get the employee on a path toward improvement.

Start by establishing some clear goals. Be sure to connect these goals to the employee’s professional needs and motivations to identify where the poor performance is coming from easily.

Next, ask them to share examples of times when they’ve delivered bad work or failed to meet deadlines. This will give concrete evidence of where your expectations need to be met and help you communicate them more clearly.

Offer training.

Training refers to any educational or occupational development that helps an individual to become more knowledgeable, competent, skilled, or effective in their job. It can be formal or informal.

A formal training program is usually more difficult to implement than an informal one because it requires planning and time. It can also involve multiple staff members, so it is important to plan accordingly.

The best way to offer training is to identify the employee’s needs and design a course that meets those needs. The right kind of training will increase employee performance and reduce costs. It will also make them more likely to want to stay with the company and recommend it to others.

Reinforce good performance.

When an employee is performing below expectations, finding the right way to encourage them can be a huge challenge. But if you show appreciation for their efforts, they’ll likely want to work harder and be more productive!

In many cases, this can take time. You don’t want to pressure them into changing their behavior overnight, or they’ll become discouraged and start doing the same thing again.

Instead, focus on reinforcing their good performance with positive feedback and training. This will help them understand what they need to improve and how you’ll support them in achieving their goals. It’s also a great way to build trust in the relationship.

Terminate the employee.

Terminating an employee can be a challenging and emotional task, but it is necessary in some cases. It’s important to take the time to think about the reasons behind your decision and follow all legal requirements.

If your employee has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of motivation to improve their performance, it’s likely time to terminate them. This will help prevent other employees from adopting a similar attitude, which can seriously impact team morale and productivity.

The most effective way to terminate employees is by meeting with them in person. Be sure to schedule a time when no one else is around so they can hear the news with as little disruption as possible.