As a manager or a team leader, dealing with underperforming employees can be a daunting task. Underperformance is not only frustrating for the manager but also can have a significant impact on the team's morale and productivity.
In this blog post, we will discuss some effective strategies to manage underperforming employees and turn them into productive team members.
What Is Underperformance?
Underperformance can be defined as a lack of productivity and/or quality of work that falls below the expected standard. It is important to recognize the signs of underperformance early on so that steps can be taken to address it before it becomes a bigger issue.
Some common signs of underperformance include missed deadlines, poor quality work, lack of motivation, and decreased engagement in team activities.
What Causes Employees To Underperform?
There are a variety of reasons why employees may underperform. Common causes include:
1. Lack Of Motivation:
Motivation is key to employee performance and there can be various reasons why an employee may lack motivation. It could be due to a lack of recognition for good work, feeling undervalued, or not being given enough challenging work.
2. Poor Working Conditions:
Poor working conditions can have a major impact on employee morale and productivity.
3. Unclear Expectations:
Employees must understand what is expected of them and receive clear instructions on how to achieve the desired results. If expectations are not properly communicated, it can lead to confusion, frustration, and ultimately underperformance.
4. Lack Of Training:
An employee needs to possess the necessary skills or training needed for their job to be able to perform it effectively.
5. Poor Management:
If an employee does not feel supported by their manager, it can lead to feelings of frustration and lack of motivation, which in turn can lead to underperformance.
Strategies To Manage Underperforming Employees
Here are some strategies to manage underperforming employees:
Identify The Reasons For Underperformance
Before taking any action, it's important to identify the root cause of underperformance. Some common reasons for underperformance are a lack of skills, unclear expectations, poor work habits, personal problems, and low motivation.
It's essential to have an open and honest conversation with the underperforming employee to understand their perspective and identify the cause of their underperformance.
Set Clear Expectations
One of the most common reasons for underperformance is a lack of clarity about expectations. As a manager, it's your responsibility to set clear and measurable goals for your team members. Make sure that the employee knows what's expected of them and how their performance will be evaluated.
Communicate the standards and the quality of work that is required to meet the company's goals. It's important to have a two-way conversation with the employee to ensure that they understand the expectations and have the resources to achieve them.
Provide Adequate Training And Resources
Another reason for underperformance can be a lack of skills or knowledge. If the employee lacks the necessary skills or knowledge, it's essential to provide them with adequate training and resources.
Invest in training programs, workshops, and mentoring sessions to help the employee improve their skills. Provide them with access to tools and resources that will help them perform their job better.
Give Regular Feedback
Feedback is crucial for improving employee performance. Regular feedback helps employees understand how they are doing, where they need to improve, and what they need to do to meet the expectations. It's important to give feedback in a constructive and supportive manner. Focus on specific behaviors and outcomes, and avoid personal attacks.
Provide feedback regularly, not just during performance reviews. Set up one-on-one meetings to discuss the employee's progress and provide feedback.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to motivate employees and improve their performance. Celebrate successes, acknowledge achievements, and provide recognition for a job well done. Positive reinforcement can be as simple as saying "thank you" or "good job."
It can also be in the form of rewards, such as a bonus, a promotion, or a special project. Use positive reinforcement to reinforce the behavior that you want to see more of.
Reiterate Job Expectations
Reiterating job expectations is an important step in managing underperforming employees. The employee must understand exactly what is expected of them and how their performance will be evaluated.
As a manager, it’s important to have a clear discussion with the employee about their job responsibilities and expectations. Have them repeat the instructions back to you to ensure that they understand. Also, provide examples of what is expected and how it should be done.
Use Progressive Discipline
If the employee's underperformance persists despite your efforts, it may be necessary to implement progressive discipline. Progressive discipline is a process that involves a series of increasingly severe consequences for failing to meet expectations.
The goal of progressive discipline is to provide the employee with the opportunity to improve their performance while maintaining a clear expectation of what is required. The steps of progressive discipline are:
Managing an underperforming employee can be a challenging task. It is important to remember that you should always take the necessary steps to ensure that the employee has been allowed to improve their performance.
It is also important to maintain open communication with the employee throughout the process and provide feedback, guidance, and support. If it is necessary to take disciplinary action, make sure that you follow the steps of progressive discipline and ensure that all procedures are followed correctly.