Handling a Poorly Performing Employee

Category: Articles
Posted: 05-31-2015 11:33 PM
Views: 14585
Synopsis: Handling a poorly performing employee is a critical skill that every manager should possess. it's not easy but improving performance will not only increase the efficiency of the employee in question, but it will lift the performance of your entire work team.

Poor performance will vary depending upon the organization, department and position. For example, a senior level employee may be expected to produce more than an entry-level person in the same position.

Why is it important to deal with problems of performance as soon as possible? A poor performing employee can adversely affect the entire team, and the disease of poor performance often seems to be contagious. This will result in the whole team not performing at par and consequently, both deadlines and performance goals will suffer. Additionally, product quality may lack resulting in poor customer satisfaction. 

Some indicators of poor performance include:

  • Excessive errors.
  • Not meeting deadlines.
  • Poor quality work.
  • Poor quantity of work. 

Change Your Ideal About Managing Poor Performance

Most managers expect conflict when they confront an employee about their poor performance. Nonetheless, it does not have to be negative at all. In fact, your efforts may result in helping your employee to perform better. And in turn, you will have a stronger, more productive team. Therefore, when approaching your employee, be sure to be positive and encouraging. However, it is important that you are honest and forthright concerning their poor performance. 

Discerning the Reason for Poor Performance

Before giving up on the employee, try to figure out why they are performing poorly. There are many reasons for poor performance including both internal and external factors such as:

  • Unrealistic or unclear expectations.
  • Lack of skills or training.
  • Poor job fit. 
  • Personal problems affecting performance. 
  • Boredom/lack of motivation. 
  • Poor time management.

Develop an Improvement Plan

If you deem the employee to be an asset to the team overall, they are definitely worth keeping and worth the time it will take to help them improve. Before embarking on an improvement plan however, first make sure the employee is clear concerning their job duties and expectations. This should be done by providing the employee with a detailed job description and/or performance checklist. 

Next, you’ll want to identify the reasons for your employee’s poor performance. Be sure to talk with the employee to get their feedback before drawing a conclusion. Once you’ve identified the causes of their poor performance, you can now develop an improvement plan. This may include providing them with additional training, counseling or giving them tools to aid in time management. Be sure to continue to involve your employee in the process. Once again, this will assure them that you are attempting to help them become better workers as opposed to enforcing some type of disciplinary action. 

Finally, you’ll want to continue to closely monitor this employee’s performance making sure they are clear about their production goals and expectations. Further, be sure to give the employee periodic feedback to both encourage and provide positive reinforcement to motivate them to continue to work hard. If the changes made result in an improved performance, you’ve been successful. However, if it does not, you may choose to extend or modify the improvement plan, or solve the problem by changing the employee’s assignment or role completely.  

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