Addressing Poor Performance in the Workplace

September 29th, 2011 by

sleep at jobEmployees can exhibit poor workplace performance in more than a few ways. Some consistently arrive late and leave early, others are busy updating their social media accounts, and a few frequently struggle with closing their sales. No matter the types of problem performers your business has, continuing to let them under produce will harm your organization’s success.

Acknowledging and confronting poor performers are often challenging tasks for managers to execute. Weak sales, unsatisfactory customer service and decreased employee morale are a few of the consequences of ignoring low achievers.  To strengthen your business’ credibility in hiring top talent, address a poor performance issue immediately.

First identify the underlying cause that is making an employee perform inadequately. Many managers automatically assume that employees are solely responsible for their less than stellar work ethics. When investigating the situation, you might conclude that the employee is overly stressed from his to-do list, one of his immediate family members is seriously ill or he received incorrect information when he was trained. Once you narrow down the reason, you can proceed with a tailored improvement plan.

Incorporate the following actions into your improvement plans to accelerate productivity in low-achieving employees:

  1. Use specific examples when discussing occurrences of poor performance. Do not exaggerate or use the opinions of others when confronting the employee.  Ex:  “Joe, I’d like to address your tardiness. I have witnessed you being late more than five times during the past two weeks.”
  2. Take care to ensure that you know the best communication method for approaching your problem performer. No one handles feedback in the same manner, especially negative feedback. Proper communication can alleviate emotional outbursts or feelings of resentment.
  3. Create an environment of constant feedback and clearly communicated expectations. Waiting around to give feedback can lessen an employee’s sense of urgency to correct a mistake. Feel free to ask employees to repeat their understanding of your feedback, as well as the goals you want them to attain.
  4. Document each conversation and review session that you have with problem personnel. Be exact with dates, goals, deadlines, expectations and feedback. Capture both positive and negative results from the improvement process. This will help you evaluate whether the employee can turn his work efforts around.

If you do not see favorable results after maintaining an employee improvement plan for several weeks, your organization could consider moving the employee to another position that suits his abilities better. If this is not an option and all other efforts to improve productivity have failed, termination could be an effective solution.

To explore additional methods for handling poor performers, please contact an account manager at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 and inquire about CAI’s class called Managing Problem Performance.

Photo Source: hawken king

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