It is important for every employee to live up to their expectations in the current workforce. There are millions of Americans in the current economy looking for jobs, so it is completely unnecessary to have to deal with underperforming employees. A recent study found that American managers waste $105 billion every year dealing with employees who aren’t accomplishing their job duties. This should never be tolerated, but in the current litigation happy culture it can become a hassle to fire an employee. Luckily, there are a few ways that a manager can successfully deal with underperforming employees without necessarily terminating them.
1. Drawing a Line in the Sand
The first thing that any employer should do when dealing with an employee who isn’t doing their job well is to let them know what the current situation is. It is important to schedule a personal meeting with the employee to go over what is expected of them. The rules of the organization and that specific worker’s job duties should be laid out in front of them, and they should know that anything less than compliance will be grounds for termination.
This is usually enough to get employees back into the game. Some workers, however, treat their jobs as if they don’t really care whether they have them or not. If the employee comes off with this attitude in the meeting, then it may be best to release them immediately. Refusal to perform their job duties is easily grounds for removal, so it is unlikely that they will recover any benefits they may file for. This one-on-one sit down is imperative in learning where to go from that point forward.
2. Start a Performance Log
All employees have a file that reports the instances in which disciplinary action has been taken against them, but it is important to start taking note of all situations involving the employee, good or bad. This will provide written evidence that can be shown to the employee during future meetings. Many bad performers will try to list off the good that they have done the company, and a manager with this log will be able to verify those instances while still showing the employee where they haven’t been successful in their overall responsibilities.
3. Lay out a Game Plan
There are too many times that employees underperform simply because they do not know what to do. This is sometimes in part due to a failure of management. When this is the case, it is important for the manager to handle the situation in a way that makes them a more efficient leader while laying forth the groundwork of how the unsuccessful employee can become more productive.
The manager in this situation needs to lay out a step-by-step plan that the employee must follow. It isn’t enough to simply tell the worker what to do; it is necessary to have a system in place that shows that they are making progress. This could mean having the employee submit daily reports on what they have accomplished that day. Regardless of how the employer chooses to keep track of the work performed, it is important that the employee know exactly what steps to take to avoid further disciplinary actions.
4. Ask about the Real Problem
Most employees don’t underperform simply because they are uncaring about their employment status; there are usually reasons behind these issues. Speaking with the employee privately can help some of these concerns come to light. There may very well be a problem in the employee’s personal life that is causing their lack of performance, and if this is the case, it is important to ask how the employee thinks that they can find a way to overcome this issue while at work. There are also times when the problem could stem from another employee. If this happens to be the issue, it may be necessary to handle the problem with more than one worker.
Dealing with unsuccessful employees can cause a strain on a company’s time and money. The easy solution is to terminate the employee, but this could lead to a separation with a potentially great worker who just had a few minor issues that could’ve easily been resolved. It is important to keep track of every time an attempt to fix the problem is made; this will ensure that there is proper documentation that all efforts were exhausted if it comes down to firing the employee. A termination is not always a sign of managerial failure, but it is if management doesn’t make every attempt to remedy the situation.
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