Under-performing Employees

Where to from here?

It’s inevitable that at some point in your business you are going to have an Employee who is under-performing. There might be a plethora of reasons why and it might not necessarily be the Employee’s fault.

Employees can under-perform if they aren’t qualified for the role

One of the most common reasons is because the Employee is not the right hire in the first place or they haven’t had the appropriate training to succeed. Or in some cases perhaps they’ve been in the role too long and are no longer motivated to achieve. 

After all, it’s hard to stay motivated and interested in a job that you’re not qualified for or trained appropriately. We know that sometimes Employers hire for the sake of hiring, and this can occur as a result of hiring because you are desperate.

But not all is lost. There are a number of safeguards that businesses can put into place, once underperformance has been identified.

How can Employers deal with under-performing employees?

Under-performance should be dealt with as as soon as it is identified. This is the key to success. Allowing under-performing Employees to continue to perform at that level creates not only issues for that particular Employee, but might also provide the catalyst for other Employees to think that this behaviour is acceptable.

It is also worth consider why the Employee is under-performing. What is causing the under-performance? Can that issue be addressed? Is it behavioural? Is it a result of insufficient resources or man power? Understanding why the under-performance is occurring will help address this moving forward. This isn’t a one-size-fits all approach It might require some further digging or investigation if it relates to a core group of Employees.

Employees could also be uninspired or lack motivation because of a lack of long-term planning. If they don’t see what the future holds, they are not excited by the opportunity that might be presented if they understood what could possibly occur. This then ties into role expectation, is there clarity around what is required and how that is delivered. If this is ambiguous, then there is potential that this can demotivate Employees.

How HR expertise can overcome the issue of under-performing employees

As HR professionals, we know how to overcome these issues! It’s a matter of understanding and showing empathy towards your Employee. Having a conversation and not jumping to conclusions is the first step forward. Understanding their viewpoint is paramount to success.

Depending on the level of under performance, steps can be taken from here. It can be something as simple as arranging weekly catch-ups with the employee. You could also arrange a mentor for the employee to work with. Another step is reviewing onboarding documentation that the Employee hasn’t understood.

Employers can also take more formal steps. Introducing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), or a Learning and Development Plan can be introduced. Whatever outcome occurs, everything still needs to be documented. The good, the bad and the ugly—either way, documentation is king.

Documentation provides a timeline of events in the scenario whereby, if there isn’t improvement, the documentation can help support disciplinary and or termination action. On the other hand, documentation can be a positive reflective tool to measure success if the Employee starts to perform. It’s important to recognise improvement and reward success but also be supportive to ensure that the under-performance ceases to exist.

Managing people can be challenging, but effective communication, honest feedback and encouragement can go a long way to having a happy and supportive team. Reach out to Now Actually if you wish to have a discussion around your people.

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