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14th August 2015

My employee is under-performing – what should I do?

My employee is underperforming – what should I do?

It’s expected from managers that their employees will attend the workplace and provide a good quality of work and fortunately, this often occurs.  It’s when an employee fails to meet the standards required that employers may have to intervene. So, how should this be dealt with?

Different managers have different approaches to under-performing staff but as with anything in Employee Relations, there is a best practice approach that you should follow fairly and consistently that will certainly assist you, should the need arise.

  • The responsible line manager should hold an informal meeting in private with the employee promptly – don’t delay the issue won’t go away
  • Ask the employee for an explanation for their poor performance – give them objective examples of what’s not gone well and what the ramifications have been
  • Offer the employee the chance to respond to your concerns
  • Is their explanation really possible?  They could be experiencing some personal difficulties that you are not aware of until you meet
  • Is the problem a lack of a particular skill?  If so, offer them the relevant training and set a realistic timeframe that you expect to see improvements by
  • Should the issue be ongoing, the same line manager should advise the employee that they will continue to monitor the employee’s performance, provide regular feedback and set out timeframes that you expect to see the improvements made by
  • Always keep some records of this meeting. Although only at the informal stage, you may want to refer back to your notes should the issue become more formal
  • If it’s clear that poor performance has arisen because of a disability, then it’s essential that you consider any reasonable adjustments that could assist the employee in their day-to-day duties

Should the informal approach become exhausted and the manager feels that the employee has failed to reach the improvements required, we advise that you begin to adopt a more formal approach.

However, before entering any discussions around dismissal, we recommend you to take specific advice from Employer Solutions to ensure that everything has been covered.

Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS Expert HR Contributor

Topics: Human Resources

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