The Underperforming Employee



There are many difficult situations that a manager has to handle, but one of the hard ones is when you have a good employee who ends up being an under-performer compared to their coworkers.

For the most part, they do a “good job” not great, not excellent, but good.  Yet when you compare apples to apples against a coworker who does the same job, you really can see that one really outperforms the other.

An employer, who is paying their salary, is expecting to get A+ work from all employees and when they do not, they want it fixed.  It’s time for the manager to step in and “fix” the problem, but how?

  1. Documentation:  There needs to be concrete documentation of the tasks that the under-performer is under-performing in.  When you discuss the facts of the situation it is hard to defend under-performance unless there has been a lack of training or the employee has certain limitations that were unknown to the employer.
  2. Communication: As a manager you need to address the facts in a calm, professional manner and then listen to what the employee has to say.  If this is the first time their under-performance has been addressed they may be totally unaware that their performance is unsatisfactory.  All details must be taken into consideration in order to correct the employee’s performance if possible.
  3. Education:  If the problem is training or retraining issue then get to work and give the employee all the necessary training they need to be able to become a top performer.  Your employer will be happy that an employee was saved and so will the employee.  Firing and rehiring is a tremendous expense to any business and should be avoided if possible.
  4. Re-evaluation: Set up goals and expectations with the employee and have assigned times to review the employee’s performance to make sure they continue on the right track.  Investing in “good” employees can create “super” employees and it is certainly worth the investment!

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” ~ Anne M. Mulcahy




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