Employee Recognition

Your 5-step guide to handling poor employee performance

Business leaders know that a high-performing workforce is an essential ingredient for competitive growth and survival. poor employee performance

They know that a highly engaged workforce will increase innovation, productivity, and bottom-line performance while also reducing costs.

But...with an astounding 15% global employee engagement rate, the question of performance often takes centre stage.

The “State of the Global Workforce” conducted by Gallup also revealed that the global cost of poor performance is estimated at $7 trillion!  

It is therefore crucial for managers to know exactly how to handle poor employee performance.

The process of handling poor employee performance is not an easy one. That is why we created this 5-step guide to help you through it.

So let’s dive in:


Step 1 - Identify and analyse the area(s) of poor performance

The only way to improve poor employee performance is to truly understand what the underlying problem may be.

There are a number of things that can cause poor employee performance:

  • Lack of skills and ability.

  • Lack of motivation.

  • Obstacles preventing performance.

  • Lack of role clarity.

Identifying the exact cause of poor performance will enable you to rectify it.  

Analysing your employee’s performance will help you understand the problem holistically. For example: if your employee is not as productive as they should be, it is imperative for you as their manager to identify what is causing this lack of productivity in their role.

Whatever your specific situation may be, it is important for you to identify what is causing poor performance within your company.

Step 2 - Have a conversation with your employee

Once you have spent time identifying and analysing the problem it is important to have a private conversation with your employee.

You need to make sure that you are prepared for this conversation with well-documented examples of the area of performance you’re addressing.

You could start your conversation by expressing the meeting’s purpose and why the specific area of their performance is under review. Make sure you’re in the right frame of mind so that you don’t express anger, but rather have a firm, honest conversation.

Allow your employee the room to express themselves. There could be any number of reasons why their productivity and quality of work has seen a decline.

Once they have been able to express themselves, it is important for you to be clear about what your expectations of them are and what the business impact is if they continue underperforming.

Step 3 - Be solution oriented & devise an action plan

poor employee performanceA great way to end your conversation is to devise an action plan that will aid your employee in overcoming the problem.

Sit down with them to define small but achievable goals and be sure to set a time frame for when these need to be achieved. Your role as a manager will be to provide all the support you can in order to help them achieve these goals. This process should be documented for both of you to help keep track of peformance.

Schedule another meeting to assess their progress. This will allow you insight into how they are performing against those smaller goals.

A solution driven approach to tackling poor performance will not only show your employee that you care about them enough to support them through a potentially difficult time, but also that you care about their growth and career development within your company.

Step 4 - Monitor your employee’s performance  

It is important to continually monitor your employee's performance.

This can be done with regular face-to-face conversations, depending on the reason for poor employee performance, you may want to consider running frequent pulse surveys to help you identify and address any other problems early on.

Step 5 - Continue to provide helpful, regular feedback

65% of employees desire more feedback from their supervisors in order to perform well at work.

That stat speaks volumes.

Your employee will need constant and regular feedback on their efforts in order to boost their performance.

Your feedback should be:

  • Timely -  regular feedback is important for constant assessment and growth.

  • Honest - 92% of employ­ees want to hear cor­rec­tive feed­back, it is, therefore, impor­tant to be hon­est with your feedback.

  • Rewards & Recognition - to promote repeat behaviour you can include rewards and recognition as part of your feedback process. Make sure that your company has a formalised system to acknowledge the success and achievements of employees. Rewards and recognition are a great way to encourage repeat behaviour.

Key Takeaways

There’s no denying the difficulty of managing poor employee performance. This easy 5-step guide should help you navigate this situation with relative ease.

A human-centred approach to managing poor employee performance will speak wonders to your company culture, but also to your leadership skills and capabilities. These circumstances provide you with the opportunity to hone your skills but also to hold up your company’s values and culture even in really difficult situations.

Ever considered a recognition program to promote an engaged and motivated workforce? Simply click the download button below to get your FREE eBook now!

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