Best Ways to Manage an Underperforming Employee

You spend a great deal of time, effort and money recruiting and training employees, and except in cases related to serious issues of misconduct, coaching is almost always well worth consideration.  Before you begin, however, consider why employees might be underperforming.

Employees Underperform for Three Main Reasons

 Employees typically do not set out to underperform.  They generally do so for three key reasons:

  1. Their core skills are lacking and that fact was not found or determined in your pre-employment processes.
  2. They do not understand your mission or corporate values.
  3. They honestly are unclear about your definition of a job that is “done right.”

Techniques to Make Coaching Successful

 To be successful, coaching generally requires that you take four key steps: First, explain why change is necessary; next, ask for the employee’s support or “buy-in” to the change.  Then, involve the employee in the process in a positive way and, finally, show recognition or appreciation for the steps the employee takes to change.  Specifically:

  • Organize a plan prior to the first meeting to address how performance can be improved: Employees who meet with you will want to know exactly what it is they need to improve; they will want specifics and may initially be defensive.  Therefore, be ready with those specifics, but if your goal is retention of the employee, begin with some positives.  What has the employee done right?  Then, explain the growth or changes you want to foster.  Show the employee the plan you have put together and encourage their acceptance of the plan.
  • Explain the ways that improvement will advance the employee’s career. Are you asking the employee to secure more training in a formal setting such as a college?  If so, what courses are you specifically recommending?  Advance planning can enable you to let the employee know the times of new training sessions or courses and allow you to address the educational benefits the company can afford to pay.
  • If you are seeking a change in attitude or behavior, which is a common reason for underperformance, be prepared to explain exactly how these kinds of changes will be recognized. Will a mentor be assigned to assist in the process?  Will progress be measured by increasing the number of positive customer reviews received by the employee?
  • Clearly indicate when your next meeting with the employee will be scheduled. If growth and professional advancement are a part of your organization’s stated mission, remind them of that fact and of the ever-increasing competitive nature of the markets in which you operate.  No one likes to feel singled out for criticism, but well-motivated individuals do like to hear references to the strong skills they have and to the ways they can build skills that will allow them to grow with the company.

Make Us Part of Your Organization’s Growth Plan

 Our organization’s growth has been built upon helping businesses like yours succeed.  When growth or change is in your plans, contact us.  Whether you need temporary or permanent staff, our pledge is to help you succeed. Contact us today or call us at (866) 80-SALEM.









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