You’ve probably been there before—an employee who just isn’t meeting your expectations.
Maybe they’re not working up to their potential, or maybe they just don’t seem to be fitting in with the team. Whatever the reason, this can be a real challenge for any boss.
What’s the most suitable approach for an underperforming employee? Do you give them a chance to improve or do you terminate them right away? How do you balance your own needs with those of the team?
Let’s discuss some of the best ways to manage an underperforming employee and help them get back on track.
Understand the why
Before you do anything, try and understand the reason why the employee is underperforming.
Maybe they’re overwhelmed and need more help. Or maybe they just don’t have the skillset for the job and need to be reassigned to a position that’s a better fit.
Whatever the reason, address the issue as soon as possible since ignoring the problem will only make it worse in the long run.
Set clear expectations
Setting clear expectations means sitting down with them and outlining what you expect from them, both in terms of performance and behavior.
Make sure that you’re specific in your expectations and that you have a timeline in place for meeting those expectations. And be prepared to hold them accountable if they don’t meet your standards.
It’s also good to keep communication open throughout the process. Check-in with them regularly to see how they’re doing and offer support when necessary. Remember, you want them to succeed, so you need to be on the same page as far as what’s expected of them.
Have regular check-ins
Having regular check-ins with your employees is a good way to address the situation head-on, and it also shows your employee that you’re interested in their progress.
During these check-ins, you should be prepared to discuss the following:
- What is wrong
- What they need to do to improve
- The consequences of not meeting expectations
Coach and provide feedback
Coaching can be done in several ways, but you must be specific and direct. Try to avoid generalizations, and make sure your expectations are transparent.
If the employee is not meeting your expectations, let them know. And be prepared to offer assistance to help them meet those set goals. Sometimes all an employee needs is a little poke or push as a wake-up call.
What to do if an employee doesn’t improve after a year
You’ve tried giving them feedback, setting goals, and even providing training, but your underperforming employee still isn’t meeting expectations.
What do you do now?
It’s time to sit down and have a serious dialogue. Start by describing the situation and be straightforward about the fact that they’re not meeting the standards of the company.
Let them know that you’ve been patient, but it might be time to consider letting them go. Be sure to have a solid plan in place before you share that decision. You don’t want to just get rid of them without giving them chances to improve.
Every boss deals with underperforming employees at some point. It’s not an easy situation, but there are ways to manage the problem effectively. First, sit down with the employee and discuss the issues that have been noticed. If the problems persist after a year, it may be time to take more drastic measures. Sometimes it’s necessary to let an employee go if they cannot meet the standards of the company. However, make sure you have exhausted all other options before taking this step.