Five Ways to Improve the Performance of Low-Performing Employees

Category: Management/Leadership
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 12-07-2018 04:37 AM
Views: 2365
Synopsis: Just one low-performing member of your team can bring the entire group down.  Learn 5 valuable tools to improve performance among your less-skilled and less motivated employees.

Whether you are a manager at a small or large company, one of your most important roles is talent development. Any company or organization requires a team in order to achieve any amount of success. Yet teams are comprised of people, and individuals have varying levels of skills and motivation.


Managing skilled, well-trained, and motivated employees is easy. Essentially, you just need to get out of their way. However, what happens when you have one or several members of your team that are low-performers? What can you as a manager do to improve the performance of an employee that is demotivated or simply struggling at their job?


Manager working with 2 employees.Here are five tactics and strategies that you can use to pick up that low-performing employee.


Improving the Performance of Low-Performing Employees


Before taking action, managers should first objectively analyze why the employee isn’t performing well. While you may have your own assumptions about why the employee is struggling, your assumptions may not be true. You’ll want to look at the situation objectively. When did the employee start struggling? Was the employee placed on a new team? Have they adopted a bad attitude toward a new policy at work? To answer some of these questions, you will likely need to speak with the employee directly. While the conversation may be uncomfortable, you need to understand why the employee is struggling before you can help the employee.


Construction employees working togetherFrom there, you’ll want to develop a customized plan of action to improve the employee's performance. This can mean many things depending on the situation. If an employee is struggling with a certain skill, for instance, you may want to develop a roadmap on how the employee can improve, whether that’s through additional training, outside courses, or something else. If an employee is upset about working with a colleague, perhaps you can consider reorganizing some of your teams in order to prevent further conflict. The bottom line is that whatever the issue is, you (and perhaps some of your own managers) need to be proactive in developing a plan to solve the problem.


Manager and employeeWhen helping to improve an employee’s performance, managers should also seek help and buy-in from colleagues. Even though you may recognize what needs to be done in order to help the struggling employee, you are only one person. You may not have the authority or clout to carry out a customized improvement plan. Because of this, you will need to achieve support and help from your colleagues—not only practical support to improve the employee’s performance, but emotional support and encouragement for the employee himself. While you can take the charge in this effort, you will need assistance from your direct reports, peers, and your own supervisors.


Next, you can help improve employee performance by improving morale in the workplace. It’s entirely possible that your low-performing employee is struggling because of low morale in your office, whether that’s due to a struggling business, overbearing manager or something else. If this is the case, fixing those errors may improve the performance of the struggling employee. But even if this isn’t what is causing the employee’s poor performance, improving your company’s morale is still a worthwhile endeavor. It can reinvigorate and inspire your employees to go the extra mile for your company.

Manager working with several team members

Finally, if all else fails, you may need to consider drastic measures. Perhaps the best move is a demotion until the employee masters the fundamentals and improves his or her performance. In other situations, it may be best to let the employee go. The choice will depend on the circumstances of your case. Nonetheless, you shouldn't be afraid to take drastic action as necessary. An employee’s poor performance—especially due to anger or disgruntlement toward your company—can be contagious, so you will want to do your best to quarantine it when possible.


A Turnaround Project


Low-performing employees can jeopardize the current and future health of your organization. As a manager, you cannot ignore or brush aside these employees. You need to take action.


However, by implementing any or all of the tactics above, you will be in a much better position to help a struggling employee improve their performance. While it may be a long turnaround project, the ultimate reward—better employee performance—will be worth it. 

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