How to Tackle an Underperforming Employee?

Those who hold leadership positions in organizations will agree that at some point of time, they may have to handle underperforming employees. Managers who constantly communicate with every member of their department find it easy to deal with such employees while administrators who are reluctant to communicate with their team members on a daily basis face difficulties to tackle underperforming employees. So, it can be said that one of the effective ways of handling underperforming employees is communication. There must be other useful techniques as well. Without stretching this paragraph more let’s check out the dos and don’ts to tackle an underperforming employee.

Things not to do when dealing with an underperforming employee

Relying on annual performance review – By the time of the annual performance review, you may encounter that an employee has deteriorated a lot. So, it is not a good option to wait for the annual performance review in order to work on the weak areas of an employee. An employee will not be familiar with his or her drawbacks unless and until you address the pitfalls immediately. Moreover, confronting an employee regarding his or her mistakes or shortcomings on the annual performance review event has the high possibility of obtaining negative reaction from the underperforming employee. The result can be totally different from what you expect.

Chalking out a performance improvement plan – You may think that performance improvement plan can be a good method to encourage an underperforming employee to rectify his or her mistakes and thereby, progress in his or her work. But, in reality, the thing is not at all so optimistic like that. Rather than motivating an employee to improve and perform better, a performance improvement plan triggers pessimistic feelings in an underperforming employee. The employee feels offended, isolated and victimized. Many talented employees with crooked mind tend to misbehave and belittle that particular employee.

Things to do when dealing with an underperforming employee

Know the reasons for underperformance – The most appropriate and the easiest way to tackle an underperforming employee is to find out what actually is/are leading an employee to perform below average. A number of factors can affect an employee’s performance. Some of them are mentioned as follows.

  • Unable to comprehend the business goals
  • Disparity between the job role and the capabilities of the employee
  • No evaluation of the employee’s work
  • Lack of motivation
  • Unfavorable work environment
  • Problems in personal life
  • Harassment at workplace

As you can see inefficiency is not always the reason behind the underperformance of an employee.

Arrange for proper counseling, training and workshops – After delving deeper into the roots of underperformance, your next step will be to organize counseling and training sessions for employees who are lagging behind. Deal with the matter with authority as well as with sensitivity so that an employee does not become an element of banter amongst his or her colleagues.

So, keep in mind these tips and guide your underperforming employees to the right path of advancement and success.