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How to Manage Poor Performers

Published September 07, 2018 (last updated November 18, 2020) -

How To Manage Poor Performers

Managing poor performance in the workplace is an often undesirable but necessary task for managers. There are right and wrong ways to address poor performance, and things can go wrong if not handled with care and respect to an individual’s unique circumstances. Fortunately, there are steps employers can take to manage the situation without impacting the working relationship.
Once an employee has passed their 90-day trial period, an important tool for measuring employee performance is through regular performance reviews or appraisals. Performance reviews can be an effective tool in addressing performance issues before the need for any formal action is necessary. Performance reviews are also used to reward employees for goals achieved.

Examples of Poor Performance

Poor performance or underperformance is a person’s inability to do their job and failing to meet the standards required of the company. Poor performance can manifest in the workplace in a number of ways, such as:

  • Inability to fulfil the standards and expectations of an employee’s role
  • Failing to ensure work is completed within a required timeframe
  • Repeated errors at work

Raising Issues

Throughout the review process, employees can sometimes feel pressured and under the microscope, but it is important that issues are raised. In evaluating an employee during a work appraisal, goals should be set and reviewed, and a discussion should take place around whether the employee is still enjoying the job.

Performance evaluation can assist in keeping good staff as well as supporting employees to enjoy their job by feeling a sense of accomplishment. This is a simple notion but following an effective performance review process can maximise the ongoing success of the business and lower the risk of any problems with employees as a result of poor performance.

How to manage poor performance

Regular performance reviews can assist in identifying any issues before they become larger and it is recommended that employers deal with poor performance quickly, as the problem does not usually solve itself. Depending on the type of performance issue, this can be done in an informal or formal manner.

Managing poor performance can be done via an informal or formal process. Depending on the type of performance and scale of the problem, one method may be more effective than the other.

Not all cases of poor work performance need a structured process. Sometimes informal intervention is the quickest and most effective way to resolve minor issues.

This may include:

  • Giving verbal feedback on the spot
  • Allocating a buddy to help the employee
  • Providing extra coaching and mentoring
  • Giving the employee a written list of tasks to manage their duties
  • If an informal approach does not address the issue, it may be necessary to establish a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

If the PIP proves to be unsuccessful, an employer can consider whether changing a role’s responsibilities, or termination of employment, would be suitable, in accordance with correct procedure. In any case, an employer should be sure to follow the correct process and keep a record of all relevant information to avoid any chances of an unjustified disadvantage or unjustified dismissal claim.

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