Few things will strike a raw nerve in a manager, or your human resource’s department, more than underperformance. Few managers want to deal with an underperforming team member. The meeting has the potential to become confrontational and emotional. Human resources realize they have a potential employee problem on the horizon and they have to document everything to avoid potential litigation.
What is the most efficient way to deal with the situation?
Straightforward And Direct
When meeting with the employee, tell them immediately why you are having the meeting. Don’t try and disguise it as some other type of meeting that may touch upon performance review. When you set up the meeting tell the person you are meeting with them because their performance has been lagging, and you want to explore the reasons and devise a plan for improvement.
This does two things; first, it shows a tremendous amount of respect for the employee, and it allows them time to think about their performance and be prepared for an effective conversation. Second, it lets them know you are prepared to work with them to correct things.
Assess The Employee’s Attitude Towards Work
When you meet with the employee for the first time, assess their demeanor. Do they accept there is a deficiency? Or, do they believe there is nothing wrong? More importantly, do they have viable reasons for their underperformance?
Listen to them, there may be unforeseen reasons why they are performing poorly.
Ask Them About Their Opinion Of Their Job
Do they believe their job is necessary? Are they aware of the impact of their work? How long have been in the same position? Are they burned out, frustrated, or merely lacking visions and goals? These are essential aspects of any job. Studies show many employees value appreciation and feedback over money, is it possible they are feeling under-appreciated?
Come Up With Goals
As a manager, you’re probably already familiar with goal setting. However, goals might be something the employee doesn’t use often. Establish some short-term and mid-range goals for their performance. Don’t worry about long-range goals yet. Watch them as they approach their shorter term goals first, see how much effort they put into it.
Once they show a track record of achieving specific goals, then establish longer-term goals for them to achieve.
Dealing With Burnout
Ask the employee if they are burned out with their job. If they are, then consider what steps you can take to make things better.
Make sure management properly recognizes the person
Encourage training opportunities away from the office
Consider a mentor for the person, make sure the mentor is interested in mentoring and enthusiastic.
If the employee does much of their work alone, try and tie them into a team.
Take This Step If There Seems To Be A Chronic Problem
People get burned out when they have to do the same task over and over with no end as to when they will be able to change. If it’s possible, consider rotating employees through different positions, change sparks interest and ingenuity.
Please call Equal Parts Consulting if you are facing productivity issues. We are experts at helping companies strengthen their company culture, solve human resources issue, and establish effective KPIs.