Aug 02 2018
Managing underperformance in staff

As many organisations enter their season for bonuses, it’s time to take a look at any underperformance that may be happening within your organisation. Even if your company doesn’t operate a bonus scheme, it’s important to regularly review staff performance in order to ensure everyone is doing their best.

What is underperformance?

When it comes to underperformance, you probably think about people missing sales targets or KPI’s then being disciplined for it. But that isn’t always the case, or the best way to deal with it.

Instead, think of performance as having three underpinning areas; conduct, capability, and coming to work. If one is lacking then performance begins to slip, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to prepare the P45.

Conduct – this essentially means the behaviour of the staff member. This is the wilful choice, or intention, to behave counter to accepted norms. In real terms, this could be inappropriate language, shouting, or perhaps nodding off at their desk!

Capability – this is the ability that an employee has to complete a particular task or role. Potentially, the employee may become capable through training, development, and self-motivation.

Coming to work – this includes factors that ensure an employees shows up to work, such as ill-health. Remember, employees may choose not to attend work for reasons other than their health.

Why should we care?

Without good employee performance, organisations can quickly become inefficient and expensive to run. Colleagues who do perform well might become resentful of others ‘getting away’ with putting in less effort, and this could lead them to putting in less effort too. It can become a frustrating situation for everyone, particularly if the team member underperforming becomes disengaged.

What should we do?

Each situation is unique, but here are a few tips that will help any organisation dealing with underperforming staff.

1. Keep communicating – have regular catch ups with the staff member. Through regular conversations you may begin to discover the reasons for their poor performance

2. Set expectations and standards – by using the SMART model, managers and leaders will be able to set standards that staff can understand and achieve. Just make sure you communicate them clearly!

3. Know where you stand legally – even a basic understanding of employment law will help you through the situation. From awareness to formal processes, getting a bit of legal knowledge will make your life easier.

Ready to find out more?

Take a look at our one day course, Managing underperformance, absence and stress here

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