Managing underperformance

A survey recently suggested that 63% of small business owners worry about how to terminate the employment of their under performing employees. Sound familiar?

But its not just small business owners, is it? In my experience there will be just as many managers in the larger organisations who either don’t know how to go about managing under performance, or lack the confidence to do so, or fear the confrontation of doing so.

In my experience, putting up with under performing staff over years and years is far more common than you might expect. I once had a conversation with someone who said that her employee had been a nightmare to work with for over 18 years! Keeping under performers in their role is also what sometimes makes people say they detest their job, makes them lose sleep at night and gives them IBS too. Working with and around people who are under performing is good for no-one! From a health and safety point of view perhaps it should even be made illegal!

Staff lose respect for their leaders and managers who don’t tackle under performance. Managers lose self confidence when they feel unable to tackle under performance. Leaders look incompetent when under performance in the business is not being managed. Added to which, business profitability and competivity is eroded in organisations carrying under performing staff.

But for all those managers now scurrying for cover, under performance needn’t end in the dismissal of the person concerned if tackled early enough and in the right way. But left untackled, it can be one of those little workplace irritants that eventually grow into enormous workplace embarrassments where dismissal or resignation is the only route out.

Want to tackle under performance in your workplace, but feel you’ve left it too long? No worries. Commit today to meeting with your under performer tomorrow to draw a line in the sand… say what the problem is, what impact it is having, explain what needs to change, be clear about the support you will offer them to help them improve, tell them what you expect of them in this process of improvement, then set a date to meet again. This next date is the date you will formally start to manage their performance if they are still falling short. This is a fair and considerate way to begin to address issues, so be confident and assertive. Who’s managing who?

For advice or support with any specific under performers please do get in touch with us at Jaluch. With some good support and plain English advice the whole process need not be so daunting!


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