When it comes to members of your team that are underperforming, you can’t stick your head in the sand. While this may be tempting, this will not help the situation, it won’t help the employee, it won’t help your team and it won’t help the business as a whole.

It may be tempting to stick your head in the sand

We know that informing a member of your team that they are underperforming is a daunting prospect so we have put together some points for you to consider about why the employee may be underperforming. We have also put together some pointers for creating an informal action plan so you and the employee can move forward.

What Do We Mean By Underperforming Employees?

This means that an employee is failing to perform the duties of the role, or they are not performing them to a standard that your business requires. Employers sometimes confuse underperformance with misconduct or poor conduct – these are different and should be dealt with separately.

Possible Causes of Underperformance

Employees may be underperforming for various reasons and it is important that you identify the underlying cause so you can manage the underperforming employee correctly;

·      Do they understand your expectations of them?

·      Have they had the correct training and is it sufficient training for them?

·      Is their workload to high?

However, there are other possible causes that an employee could be underperforming, such as;

·      The wrong person being hired for the role

·      The person may have personal outside influences that restrict them from performing to the best of their ability

·      The communication between them and their line manager may have broken down

Creating an Informal Action Plan

Once you have considered the above points you can set out a plan for improvement with the employee. This will help to prevent and resolve any possible employee disputes in the future and can help your business and the employee.

However there are certain things you need to make sure of in your action plan and these are as follows;

·      The employee must be clear of what your expectation of them are

·      You need to provide feedback on their performance, now and ongoing

·      The employee needs to be clear about the gap between where they are now and where you expect them to be performing

·      You need to agree a plan between you stating the expectations and when the employee needs to meet these by, as well as what you will do to help them improve

·      The agreed actions need to have dates that are achievable and that the employee can meet

·      The employee needs to fully understand what will happen if their performance does not improve and the next steps

·      A clear audit trail needs to be kept of all the above

·      Lastly and most importantly – check they have understood everything that is in the action plan

Very often employees will make the required improvements in their performance after this meeting, – this is the ideal situation and we hope that this happens everytime.

If however their performance does not improve you will need to take them down a formal process.

If you require support on the performance improvement action plan or guiding through the formal process then please contact us to have an initial discussion.