Six Ways to Manage Underperforming Employee like a Pro

By Published November 1, 2017
Underperforming Employee

Life is not same every day. Ups and downs are constant and so is the life of an employee. Probably, on Monday, he/she achieves 150% of the productivity, and on Tuesday, the output remains only 75%. However, this time the lesser productivity stretches for a more extended period. Now, you are quite serious about the under-performance and going to fire him/her. Here, you must be questioning your ability as a recruiter or a hiring manager. You must know that productivity happens to be an inconsistent affair. He/she is the same candidate whom you found extremely suitable for the position at the time of hiring, and he/she has been a great asset to your organization.

Underperforming Employee

Have you ever tried to find out why is he/she not performing well over some time? Have you talked to the employee to understand about things bothering him or her at work?

You should not underestimate the potential the underperforming employee has – the phase might be temporary, and you can help him or her with your guidance. The following tips would help you to handle underperforming employees:

Be Patient

A heated discussion ruins the possibility of any definite conclusion. You must not say anything in the heat of the moment, which you later regret. Give yourself some time to introspect and then schedule a one-on-one conversation with the employee. Knowing the cause of the underperformance is the solution to the problem. You must be ready to let your employee explain the reason, intensity, and impact of the problem.

Don’t Criticize

When feedback is negative, it affects the emotions so badly even if the person is trying so hard to perform well. To help avoid this, you must not criticize the employee. Give clear examples when the employee failed to meet his/her responsibilities and expectations. Ups and downs are bearable, but the constant downfall is not tolerable. Explain to the employee how his/her continuous failure would affect his/her job security, appraisals, and appreciation in the future.

Identify Root Cause

Assumptions could be misleading. If you assume what the reason of an employee’s underperforming status is, you might mislead yourself and reach a point, which has no facts combined. You must find out the cause of the problem, maybe the employee does not feel challenged anymore, or workload is leading to the constant downfall, or perhaps there are some health concerns. Alternatively, your employee is not clear about the job responsibilities you expected him/her to fulfill. Knowing the reason will help you solve issues of the employee efficiently.

Work Collaboratively

Never dictate a solution to the performance related issues your employees face. Instead, you must approach your underperforming employee and ask for the resolution of the problem from his/her side. Give a thought on how the performance related issues can be resolved and reach to a point which collaboratively finds a solution. Here, the most important thing is to give a chance to your employee to overcome the challenges. It would empower him/her and provide extra motivation to recover.

Assess the Situation

Once the solution is implemented, make sure you assess the execution of resolution at different stages, and the employee is recovering. You must address the challenges causing underperformance, which is not because of the employee’s skill downfall, but because of other factors such as his/her relationship with colleagues, workload, family issues, personal health, travel time, etc.

Improve Employee Recognition

You must recognize the progress of your employee and how he/she comes out of the problem. If you see improvements, you must appreciate it. Reward him/her and drop a card on his/her desk quoting – “Well Done!” It will not only boost him/her for future endeavors, but the current productivity would also amplify.

Regrettably, not every organization practice such activities to boost an underperforming employee. You can save your employee from leaving you, or you can avoid firing them – that can again be an asset to your team with little help. It would significantly create a lesser turnover rate in your organization.

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