When Poor Employee Performance Becomes Regular Performance

1146936_green_payback We all have had bad days at work when our performance is less than the standard, but the next day we pick it up and get back on top of our game giving our best at work.

What do you do when poor performance starts to become an employees regular performance?  I am sure we have all worked in places where we have seen this happen and wonder why management allows it to continue.

It can  be quite frustrating for co-workers to be working side-by-side someone who is performing below the standard on a daily basis.  Many managers would rather choose to look the other way instead of dealing with an employee with poor performance as confrontation and rehabilitation take time. It must be dealt with if you want to keep it from spreading to other employees.

Tackling the problem right away when poor performance is noticed is always best.  It can be as simple as asking the person if everything is okay because you noticed their performance has recently dropped.  This not only gives the person a chance to respond, but it lets them know that you are aware that they have slipped below the line, opening the door for further communication if it happens again.

If you wait too long to deal with the issue of poor performance you are opening yourself up to a lot of problems, not only with the employee whom you are dealing with, who questions if this was a problem why didn’t you say something before?

But with the other employees who begin to think it is okay for one employee to not work as hard as the rest, then why should they?

Speaking as a manager who has been on the side of waiting to see if things will turn around and they did not, it is much easier to address this type of issue immediately when it appears.

Keeping the workplace standards up above the line keeps everyone happy because they know what the expectations are and know that they apply to everyone.

More Resources on Poor Performance


11 thoughts on “When Poor Employee Performance Becomes Regular Performance

  1. When you bring a bucket to a well, you want water. If you repeatedly go to one well and bring up dirt, you will avoid that well and being to overuse the other resources you have. There is nothing that kills morale quicker than feeling over-utilized because someone is consistently under-performing – and the supervisor is accepting it. You have to make sure that everyone is doing their share, and not compromise or adjust the standard for a consistent under-performer that you just don’t want to confront. You do your department – and the under-performer – a huge disservice.


    • Amen to that Mimi, as I said I made the mistake (more than once) thinking things would just work out and then saw the damage it was doing to my productive employees. No more, I am on it pretty fast now, but also in the correct way. My staff that works hard deserves my backing them 100% and that is my first priority now.


  2. Tina,

    This is so true. Being in an environment where it’s okay for someone to perform poorly makes the high performers resentful and they become disengaged. The next thing you know they are out the door and you are left with the “B” team instead of the “A” team.



  3. I’m in this boat right now – I’m not the manager, but the under-performing employee.

    I’ve lost my motivation at work, no matter how hard I try I can’t get it back…my managers aren’t doing anything about it. I think all I really need is a swift kick in the rear, but none of them seem to care enough to give me that. I’m falling behind on a bunch of stuff, and it’s finally starting to catch up to me. Worst of all they all like me a lot as a person, so they’re overlooking my professional flaws, maybe subconsciously.

    Should I just quit and save them the trouble? I’ve already started looking for other work; I think I would do a lot better if I actually enjoyed my job and was able to use my true skills.


    • Hello, thank you for your comment, sorry I have replied sooner but I am out of the country. The one point you made that spoke loudly to me was “If I were doing a job that I could use my skills.” Apparently your current job and you are not a good fit. It is very important to fit the job with the right person. Maybe you could talk to your superiors about this and then clean up unfinished work before you move on to a new job. Leaving a job in a mess speaks loudly and not in a good way. I wish you much luck in pursuing a career that you will be more self-motivated to do. Let me know how things turn out.


  4. Pingback: Are You Supporting Mediocre Performance? | Managing Employees

  5. Pingback: Stop Supporting Mediocre Performance? | Managing Employees

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