Management Matters

How Did Your Department Turn Around The Situation So Quickly?

Date Posted: 03/31/2014

8 strategies for handling underperforming employees

It’s great when employees are delivering but can be stressful when they are not. Handling an underperforming employee can be a time-consuming, emotionally draining and complex aspect of a manager. In any organization or department, you don’t always get the best talents; there are usually one or two underperforming employees. Whether they’re failing to hit target or they’ve simply lost interest in the job, any drop in employee performance levels will ultimately affect your performance and business. Managers must understand that poor performance that is not addressed quickly is in reality seen by the employee as being condoned. When poor performance goes unaddressed for a long period of time, it can become a major problem and manifest itself into a situation that is out of control.

Before just firing an underperforming employee, it’s important to be able to demonstrate to others and yourself that you have explored all other avenues in order to boost performance. Here are some simple and effective strategies that can help.

1. Identify the cause for underperformance

Document the performance problems you observe and communicate your concern with the underperforming employee and try to identify the reasons behind their poor performance. In what areas is the employee falling short of expectations? How long has the employee been underperforming? Research the employee’s work history and performance reviews to determine if the problem is a new behavior or if the employee has underperformed throughout his employment. Also, check if there’s a discrepancy between the employee’s tasks and your expected standards.

2. Clearly define consequences of underperformance

Define consequences of continued underperformance and the impact on others and the business. Explain to the employee that poor performance might ultimately affects his/her job security, promotional opportunities, recognition, credibility, financial rewards, etc.

3. Suggest solutions and approaches

It is important to understand the root cause and to deal with issues as early as possible to effectively address any underperformance issue. Be specific, and make sure it is measurable and achievable by the employee.

4. Offer training

Keep your employee’s skills fresh and up-to-date by providing appropriate training such as on-line, in-house or external courses. You might want to pair him/her to an experienced mentor to work with or to provide procedures manual to study and follow.

5. Create a performance improvement plan (PIP)

Make a plan for improvement that both you and the employee feel comfortable with and set realistic goals and deadlines for achieving it. You must both agree on the standards of success and failure.

6. Schedule a review meeting

Set out key dates that you will hold update meetings with the employee when progress and developments can be reviewed. This will also give the employee reasonable opportunity to demonstrate that their performance has improved.

7. Keep records

It is important to always keep a written record of all meetings and discussions that took place. This will not only demonstrate to the employee that you are conducting the process in a transparent and professional manner and are genuinely trying to help, it can also be a vital defense tool should a dispute arise later.

8. Escalation

Should the employee’s underperformance continue, it’s crucial that the course of action taken is both professional and fair. A typical disciplinary sequence includes:

i. Verbal warning
ii. Written warning
iii. Final written warning
iv. Dismissal

Dismissal should only be used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Failure to address underperforming employees can affect moral, productivity, sales, revenue and overall company’s output. Allowing poor performance to continue unchecked may result in your high achievers leaving. Better to address the issue right away rather than allowing it to become a bigger problem.
When you use Ikon to hire staff for you, you can be sure that every candidate has been vetted for past poor performance. You can trust Ikon Solutions’ services and be certain that every detail of the hiring process is maximized in finding the best candidate for you.

IKON is a full services recruitment agency that specializes in recruiting personnel from the Philippines and other parts of Asia for the hospitality, medical, construction, oil & gas and other service industries. One of the leading newspaper in the Philippines, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, recently reported Ikon as being one of the top 20 overseas recruitment agencies in the Philippines. Following this, the leading overseas job website in the Philippines, Workabroad (www.workabroad.ph), has ranked Ikon as the 4th leading agency to which candidates apply. You, as the client, can therefore be sure that qualified candidates actively looking for jobs overseas will be applying to Ikon. And since we are also constantly headhunting the best talents available, our clients are guaranteed a wide and diverse pool of candidates to choose from.

To see how our staff solutions cook up a storm at restaurants, bars and hotels, please email us at [email protected]

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