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How to manage poor employee performance

Posted On: 06/04/2017

Praising an employee’s work is one of the most positive aspects of leading a team – but no one likes having to tell someone they're doing a bad job. Managing poor performance, however, is an unpopular but essential aspect of leadership. Failing to nip any issue firmly in the bud will only mean that the member of staff's performance gets worse, and may begin to have an adverse effect on the rest of team. In this blog post, we take a look at how leaders can effectively manage poor performance.

 Effective performance management is vital to ensure all individuals understand their role in the business and have the skills and support to achieve what’s required. This should be viewed as a continuous cycle, not as part of an annual appraisal or, worse, left until things go wrong.  How to react appropriately to under performance is one of a manager’s biggest challenges. Read on for our five key pointers:

 Prevention is better than cure

Ongoing training and, in particular, coaching can go a long way in making sure performance issues don’t arise. Communication is the key here. Providing a mentor for day-to-day support and coaching, using the P3PM development model, as well as offering a more formal training plan can go a long way in understanding and preventing issues before they even arise.

 Banishing the square peg

There is usually a blanket assumption that responsibility for poor performance lies with the employee. There may, however, be other reasons.  The job itself may be poorly designed, or the fit between the job and the individual may be poor – it may not play to their strengths or may require them to perform tasks they simply don’t like.  Job sculpting – or changing the job to fit the aptitude of the individual – is becoming more common, alongside role transfer – moving a person to a role that makes better use of their skills and interests.  The right attitude towards work can often be more important than the perfect skill set – skills can be taught, passion can not.

 Giving clear feedback

When you reach the point that an issue must be addressed, skirting around the problem will get you nowhere. Tackling the issue head on, based on fact rather than emotion is the only way to achieve a way forward.  And understanding both how to give feedback, and how an individual will respond to that feedback, is of critical importance.

 Set measures of success

Establishing a clear framework to help an employee define their work, their goals and any improvements needed is essential in managing performance. By identifying and setting performance objectives, as well as creating a workplace culture in which individuals take personal responsibility for the continuous improvement of the business will create employee engagement and deliver powerful results.

 Call in the experts

If things feel out of your control, call in the experts. You’ll not only benefit from their support and expertise, all backed by their legal and compliancy knowledge, but you’ll also be able to take a step back from the issues clouding your vision, allowing you to focus on the future.

 How do you handle performance management? Share your thoughts with us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

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