Performance management review is one of the most challenging tasks of a manager. And, if an employee happens to be a poor performing one, then it becomes even more difficult for the manager to assess and give a proper performance review. However, one has to go on and continue working with all kinds of team members and reportees in the corporate world. So, as a manager, how would you deal with the performance or performance management of an employee who is unable to give his or her very best at work?
Managing underperformance can be one of the most stressful parts of handling a team. The problem is of course; good managers know that the vast majority of employees want to come to work to do a good job. When an employee is not performing, more often than not it is either because:
a) They are in the wrong job
b) They have problems outside of work
c) They simply need more knowledge or information or understanding.
It takes a skilled and experienced manager to be expert and slick when it comes to raising poor performance. Often teams become less than enchanted with their manager when the manager fails to address underperformance, even when the impact is not extreme. One of the most frustrating experiences for a team is when they feel they are carrying a member who is not pulling their weight; frustration can turn into stress when the manager simply does nothing about it.
Ways to deal with underperformance
Nonetheless, it is the duty of a manager to ensure that all his reportees are able to give their best at work and also remain engaged for the maximum time. There are a number of ways by which a manager can deal with poor performance at work. Let’s take a look:
1. Have a fair and equitable way of measuring performance for all employees
2. Develop internal policies in such a way, so as to ensure proper management for under-performance. Design policies to get them right at the first place.
3. Identify the precise areas of under-performance. Exactly what element of performance is the team member not achieving? Poor performance could be associated with lack of productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, or an underdeveloped skill set. Gather clear examples and facts that clearly demonstrate the level of performance. Indulge in proper personal discussion with the employee as to what is leading to repeated poor performance.
4. Make sure that you discuss the issue and not the person. Clarify details and explore the reasons why there is an issue. At this stage do remember to carefully listen to your team member. Try and value his side of the story as well.
5. Stay relaxed, be encouraging of the employee and summarize to check your understanding of the situation.
After you have succeeded in identifying the actual problems, it’s time for you to take necessary steps.
What are the next steps that a manager should take?
After an analysis and a solid discussion with the particular team member, you can choose to take certain steps in order to be able to tactfully handle the situation. The first thing you can choose to do is reassign the task and then observe. Typical job reassignments may decrease the demands of the role by reducing the need for the following:
- Technical knowledge
- Interpersonal skills
However, reassigning does not ensure that the task comes out to be successful. To ensure this, the manager must avoid tactics like demotion or any other form of punishment for a temporary period. Identifying the root cause of poor performance, working on improvising it through verbal guidance is way significant than simply punishing, that ultimately results in –loss of an employee. Determine what skills can be added, which can enhance his or her performance.
On the other hand, as a final option you might have to take a call and have to release the employee of his or her responsibilities. This might occur when reassignment is not an option and a few number of given chances have also failed. This is said because, continuing to retain an underperformer might have negative consequences and eventually end up affecting your business. Therefore, be careful while it comes to dealing with poor performers. As a manager make sure to exercise your wisdom in dealing with an underperformer in your organization or your team.
The power tip for managing underperformance
Begin from being neutral and equal with all your subordinates. Identify who can play the best role in something. However, do not overlook the performance of both—top performers and poor performers. An observant attitude and amicable strategy will go a long way in doing justice to top performers and providing motivation to the poor ones.
Remember, if they cannot perform after a certain stage, they are not adding any value to their work, the organization and to the business. Therefore, a final call has to be taken regarding their position in the team and organization as a whole.