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Underperforming employee: Do you know what to do?

Managing employee performance is never plain sailing and can be stressful for both the employee and the manager if not done correctly. There are always situations that test and frustrate managers and if not tackled early can manifest into something more complex.

Do you know what poor performance looks like? It can be exhibited in various ways and having an understanding of what it is could be the key to managing it. Things to watch are poor quality of work, lack of achievement against targets/deadlines, their behaviour and approach to work, carelessness to name but a few. Communication is the key here!

Here are Peach’s top 5 tips for managing poor performance;
1. Why don’t managers want to deal with it? There are many reasons, some don’t think that it is important, most say that they don’t have time, sometimes it may not be clear on what is causing the poor performance and they don’t know how to address it. For some managers it may be that they don’t want to be seen as the “bad guy”. It is important for managers to be trained to combat underperformance.
2. Implications. What happens when you don’t deal with poor performance? You may see reduced profit for the business, it could affect the team’s ability to meet deadlines, low quality of work may lead to more customer complaints, low team morale and training needs may not be identified.
3. Communicate. Find out why your employee is underperforming. It is important to identify the performance gap- the gap between what an employee should be doing and what the employee is actually doing. More often than not this can be managed effectively at this stage. Just having a 1:1 conversation explaining concerns with their performance and finding out if there is anything the company can do to help solve the issue. There are many causes of poor performance, it could be there is a lack of understanding of their role, dealing with personal issues, poor management/leadership, insufficient training/resources, or it could be that they lack any work motivation.
4. Performance Improvement Plan
If informal chats are not working, the next stage would be to start a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). This is a great platform to put down objectives that need to be achieved and set target dates for them to be completed by. Ensure that these objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and consider whether any additional resources are required.
5. Review
It will be important to review the PIP regularly. If there are no signs of improvement you may be required to take this down a more formal route. We would recommend you contact Peach to advise on what to do next to minimise risk of any successful unfair dismissal claims.

For further information on managing performance in the workplace or if you would like support on training managers dealing with poor performance please contact us on 0161 478 3800 or hello@peachlaw.co.uk.

Underperforming employee: Do you know what to do?

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