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How to manage poor performance in 5 easy steps

Posted On: 31/10/2017

Poor performance and disengaged staff bring everyone down, including those in management. This, in turn, can lead to poor management and can be a vicious circle to break. It can even lead to low productivity and a drop in sales.
 
69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised[1]. It’s easy to write off poor performing staff as just lazy or work shy but, let’s be honest, there must be a reason why they wanted to work for your business in the first place and they must have some talent or experience which made them employable to you.
 
In some cases, there are other behind the scenes issues at play; trouble at home or health problems. But in the majority of cases the underlying cause of poor performance in the workplace is poor management.
 
Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
 
It’s important for any manager to make sure that good management becomes a habit and that any underlying performance issues are addressed immediately. For the long-term, making sure your employees are engaged and valued from day one can prevent any issues with performance from ever occurring.
 
Here are our 5 top tips for getting a grip on poor performance in your business: 

  1. Find out why they are feeling disillusioned or demotivated?

Before you can fix it, you need to know and understand the underlying cause so take time to have one-to-ones and get to know your staff so they know you are approachable, trustworthy and will be able to support them. This needs to be a habit and not just something you do when there are problems to fix.

  1. Set clear expectations

If your staff don’t understand exactly what is expected of them and where their responsibilities lie, this can lead to switched-off staff. So, make sure you take your employees with you on your journey and keep them informed and up to date on changes within the business.

  1. Invest in training opportunities

Your team will feel very undervalued if you don’t give them opportunities to learn and develop themselves so make it a habit of seeking out new and exciting development opportunities for them that they will enjoy. If you don’t have the budget, why not establish a mentoring programme and give them opportunities to work with other team members on different projects that will stretch and develop them?

  1. Work together to tackle the problem

You can’t change poor performance overnight but it is important to tackle any issues straight away and sensitively. Allow them the time to change and support them throughout so that you can help them to regain their lost motivation.

Show your appreciation

Four in five employees are motivated to work harder when shown appreciation by their boss[2]. It’s a fairly easy step to take but so often gets forgotten. Yes, your employees are being paid to do their job and, as the boss, you’re unlikely to be on the receiving end of much gratitude. But, your team will feel more valued and motivated and will be better advocates of the business if you regularly show them your appreciation. After all, happy and valued staff = a more productive business.
 
A business which makes good management of staff a habit will undoubtedly lead to more engaged, valued and motivated staff and these are the most crucial ingredients for a highly productive and successful business.
 
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace” - Doug Conant
 

[1] Zenger and Folkman, Harvard Business Review, 2014
[2] PlusHR, How to Manage and Improve Poor Performance in the Workplace, 2016

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