How to Manage Poor Employee Performance

Every employee can't be a star performer; however, performance management is an essential measurement for employers. Employers establish performance standards that employees must achieve to be considered satisfactory. However, there are times when employee performance drops below the employer's expectations. In these cases, the employee's supervisor must be involved in identifying the problem as well as a resolution to help the employee return to satisfactory performance.


    • 1

      Observe employee performance or review work records to determine just how poorly the employee is performing. In addition, determine how long poor performance has been a problem. Obtain past performance appraisal, disciplinary and corrective action forms, written warnings and attendance records. Ensure the employee's qualifications and skills are appropriately suited to the assigned job.

    • 2

      Address the performance issue with the employee in a private setting. If your company has a human resources department, it's a good idea to have a human resources staff member present. State the performance issue clearly and in a manner that doesn't put the employee on the defensive. Explain the company's performance management program and how supervisors measure performance.

    • 3

      Describe the performance standards and ask the employee if he is aware of the company's expectations. Give the employee an opportunity to explain his job functions and how he performs his tasks. The performance issue might be caused by incorrect processes, or the employee might not have the skills necessary to perform the job. This particularly could be true if the poor performance has been a problem for a long time.

    • 4

      Inquire carefully about other causes for poor performance. If the employee is experiencing personal issues that affect the ability to work, the reason might be resolved through employee counseling. If you sense there are nonwork matters affecting the employee's performance, remind him that the employee assistance program is available at no charge.

    • 5

      Suggest ways to improve skills and competencies. Indicate whether there is training available to the employee or a seasoned employee who can become a mentor. Ask the employee for input -- employees have to understand how poor performance impacts the organization.

    • 6

      Explain the consequences of consistently low performance. If you are dealing with an employee who just doesn't want to perform well, make it clear that the department needs productive employees and that her performance must improve. Put the employee on a performance improvement plan if you believe the employee is sincere about improvement and is willing to work harder.

    • 7

      Schedule a follow-up date to discuss the employee's performance. If you agree to develop a performance improvement plan, stress the importance of meeting the plan's milestones and achieving work goals.

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