Effective Leadership: Addressing Poor Employee Performance

Effective Leadership: Addressing Poor Employee Performance was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Talking to employees when they are performing poorly at work can be tricky. You might avoid conflict by ignoring the issue and hoping for a change. Sometimes, you may decide to remove them from a project or assign them a different task.

Unfortunately, failing to address poor employee performance will have a ripple effect on the company. Other workers may not feel the need to work hard, which then lowers turnover. The quality of your services will be low, affecting the business’s reputation.

To be an effective leader, you must address poor performance before it worsens. Let’s explore some tips you can use.


☑ Establish the Cause of the Problem

Employees may fail to meet their goals for personal reasons or due to the nature of the workplace. For example, they might be in a personal crisis, which may cause them to lose focus at work. They might also have difficulty collaborating with their colleagues or using new software.

Identifying the cause of poor employee performance is the first step to fixing it. Look back and determine when their output started to reduce. Did any major change occur in the company around that time? Has the employee raised any concern about their role since then? Are you aware of any issues they might be experiencing in their personal life?

Asking such questions will help you identify issues that might be affecting performance. You can also brainstorm solutions for workplace-related problems.


☑ Meet With the Employee

Some reasons for poor performance may be obvious, but others, not so much. Employees may fail to meet their goals because of something you’d never consider.

The best way to identify a way forward is by scheduling a sit down to discuss your concerns. During the meeting, highlight why you feel their work is below the standards. You can mention missed deadlines, declining productivity, absenteeism, poor communication, and unmet goals.

Once you express your concerns, give the employee a chance to explain themselves. Find out why they aren’t achieving their targets as before. After that, identify how you can offer more support in their roles to improve performance. This can be done by providing the right resources, training them, or pairing them with a mentor.

Your employee might not be forthcoming about all issues, lowering their performance. Encouraging them to open up and inviting their feedback can give you the full picture. If the worker is going through a rough patch in their life, be empathetic about it. Doing this shows you care and can motivate them to improve their performance after the meeting.


☑ Come Up With a Plan for Improvement

Developing an improvement plan is vital when addressing poor performance. It allows you and your employees to set new goals with a defined timeline. You can also agree on ways to evaluate performance and ensure they are on the right track.

An improvement plan should mention the areas the employee needs to work on. It should also include several things they must do to fix their performance. Each goal should be measurable and have a particular timeline. For example, you may require an employee to secure a given number of clients in one quarter.

Here are some tips for creating an effective performance improvement plan:

  1. Ensure you highlight the support the employee will get from the company
  2. Develop a schedule for performance reviews
  3. Mention potential outcomes if they meet or fail to reach new goals

Engaging your employees when creating a performance improvement plan is vital. It shows that you believe in them despite their shortcomings. By collaborating with them, you can also assess their commitment to getting back on track.


☑ Encourage Accountability

It’s common for employees to blame other factors when they can’t meet their goals. Be an effective leader by encouraging everyone to be accountable for their performance. If you are handling a team project, ensure every member has individual targets. These will help them understand their role and its effect on the project’s success.

Another way to encourage accountability is by leading by example. You can’t expect your team to improve if you don’t meet your targets and often push deadlines. Own up to your mistakes and encourage poor-performing employees to do the same. Set the right tone by delivering high-quality work and supporting your team.

Sometimes, employees are more likely to take criticism seriously if it comes from their peers. Inspire your team members to hold each other accountable by tracking commitments. Give them opportunities to offer and ask for feedback after every project. Encourage them to provide positive criticism to employees that aren’t doing their best.


☑ Recognize Your Employee’s Strengths

Employees often feel demotivated when you don’t recognize their strong suits. If you always call them out on their weaknesses, they might feel you don’t value their skills. This can lower work morale, eventually leading to poor performance.

Recognizing your employee’s strengths may help you address poor performance. It improves their spirits and motivates them to work on their weaknesses.

Reward workers when they accomplish their goals to boost job satisfaction. Give a shoutout to top talent on your social media to inspire poor performers to improve.

Employees might perform poorly because their work doesn’t match their strengths. Identifying their strong suits can help you assign them to more suitable roles. In the long run, you will address poor performance and ensure your employees are passionate about their duties.


☑ Know When It’s Time to Let Go

As a leader, you won’t always be able to solve every case of poor employee performance. Some employees may be unsuitable for their current role but might not want to quit. Others may be insubordinate and make your job much harder.

Knowing when to let go of an employee can save you and the company time and resources. If you try different techniques without any results, consider termination. This way, you will avoid disruption at the workplace and protect other employees from bad influence.


Address Performance Concerns to Be a Better Leader

Addressing poor performance isn’t always easy, but you can hack it with these practical strategies. Stay open-minded when meeting with employees, and don’t hesitate to point out the lack of accountability. Further, provide the help your workers need to be more productive and check in with them regularly.

Explore this page for other helpful articles.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.