Tips to Manage Underperformance in Employees

When managing underperformance, you need to understand that employees can help you build your company and take it to great heights. Sadly, that is not the case with employees who underperform and bring down the company’s productivity.


As an employer, you need to understand that this is common, and every workplace faces some form of underperformance issue, regardless of the nature of its business. Your responsibility is to identify the reasons for the underperformance and manage them.


Once you identify the employees who are underperforming, you must take immediate action and follow the following tips to manage them efficiently. The following are some ways you can manage and handle underperforming employees.

Manage Underperformance in Employees


Communicate with Employees

Most of the time, employees underperform because they lack an understanding of the expectations of their role. In such cases, the employee may be unaware that they are underperforming. Ideally, communicating the expectations of the role and the responsibilities during the onboarding should help.

When you know that the employee has no idea of the expectations, you need to ensure that they are educated about this. It would seem unfair to mark an employee as an underperformer when they are unaware of their duties.


Find the Reasons for the Underperformance

Once your employees understand the expectations of their roles, you can then look out for another pattern of underperformance. Each might have a different reason for their underperformance.

Classify the reasons. If it is something that you can intervene in, you should modify the workings of the company to ensure that the employees work to their full potential. Find out the reasons that are entirely from the employee’s side. This needs to be addressed depending on the problems. 

To ensure that you can help the employees improve their performance, you must clearly understand the cause of their underperformance.


Provide Appropriate Training

One of the causes of underperformance is the lack of employee training. The employee might show the right attitude towards the work and stay motivated through the tough times. But if they do not know how to perform their duties or lack the training, it could contribute to their poor performance.

The employer is responsible for providing appropriate training for the employees based on the skill gap analysis. This training will not only help the employees to perform their task efficiently, but can also help provide career development for them.


Develop Action Plans Together

To handle underperformance, you will need to develop specific action plans to ensure that all the issues are addressed. When you plan something along those lines, you must include the employees in the decision-making process.

This will also allow you to get a new perspective from the employees. They can express their concerns, give you an idea of the skills they wish to learn, and develop new goals for employees to track their performance.


Have a Routine Check-In

When employers have regular check-ins with their employees, they would feel responsible for their work and try to achieve their targets before the next check-in.

Remember that it should not feel too much like monitoring from your end. When employees feel they are under watchful eyes for a long time, it can negatively impact them and lead to poor performance.


A Rewards and Recognition Program

As much as you identify employees who do not perform to the expected standards, it is equally important to recognise and reward employees who perform well. Having a reward and recognition program can help your organisation in many ways.

Every employee loves to be appreciated for their work. This may encourage them to perform well in their job. When it comes to underperforming employees, they may get motivated when they see employees winning awards.


Provide Feedback

Most of the time, employees do not have an idea of their progress. This means that it is necessary to have a way to keep the employee trying harder to improve their performance. An employee identified as an underperformer will expect feedback on their efforts.

When you talk with such an employee, try to give them positive, constructive feedback. This will keep them motivated. Keep the feedback straightforward, and do not overburden the employee with multiple issues. Keep it simple and convey everything that would help the employee.


Encourage Work-Life Balance

Employees who work too much for a company can exhibit signs of burning out. As a result, this leads to underperformance. It is your responsibility to ensure that the employees get enough time for themselves.

This means that they should have a work-life balance, so encourage them to take their paid time off, help them balance the work of the company, and offer them wellness benefits. This can keep them motivated and help them perform well.


Prepare to Let Them Go

Once you have exhausted all the methods to manage the underperforming employee, and if there are still no promising results, try talking to the employee about their performance. Sometimes communicating with them about their performance may make them realise their errors and aid them in improving it.

Even then, if the employee does not show any improvement in their work or when there is no visible effort for improvement. As a last resort, you may have to let the employee go. This is hard for the manager and everyone involved in the team, but this is something that should only be used when there is no other option available.

This option is treated as a last resort because there are many ways to handle underperformance, but doing this may spread negativity across the office and reduce the employee’s morale.


Final Thoughts

Dealing with underperformance is always challenging. It is necessary to manage the underperforming employees to keep the company working correctly without problems. But, sometimes, when things go beyond your control, you must be prepared to make the tough decisions. 




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