Must-Have Conversations With An Underperforming Employee

Must-Have Conversations With An Underperforming Employee

Sugandha SrivastavaDecember 9th, 20235 min read

Discovering that a promising hire isn't meeting expectations can be a challenging situation. Not only has there been a significant investment of time and money in bringing them on board, but they might also be pleasant individuals outside of the job context. However, if consistent underperformance is evident, it might be in the best interest of both the team and the company to consider parting ways.

Before resorting to termination, though, it's worth exploring whether there are avenues to support the employee in improving their performance. Interestingly, underperformance is often linked to factors within the company and managerial approach, highlighting the potential for positive change through proactive intervention.

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What does underperformance mean?

Underperformance in the workplace signifies a noticeable drop in the quality of work that falls below the anticipated standards. This can manifest as an inability to meet assigned goals, a lack of adherence to workplace policies, or engagement in disruptive behavior. The consequences of underperformance extend beyond individual work output, impacting broader aspects of organizational success.

Studies consistently emphasize the pervasive impact of underperformance on business outcomes. Researcher found that companies with a higher incidence of underperforming employees reported a significant decrease in overall project success rates, leading to potential ramifications for client relations and stakeholder satisfaction. The ripple effect of underperformance is not limited to a single employee but can adversely affect team dynamics and overall morale.

To mitigate these effects, identifying underperforming individuals is crucial for prompt intervention. Research conducted by [insert source] indicates that companies employing proactive measures to address underperformance experienced a notable improvement in project outcomes, client satisfaction, and team cohesion. This underscores the importance of a vigilant approach in identifying and managing underperformers to uphold organizational success.

9 reasons your new hire might be underperforming:
  1. Job monotony: Repetitive tasks may affect interest, particularly for those with a creative mindset.
  2. Personal issues: External problems like illness, financial difficulties, or relocation can impact productivity.
  3. Poor cultural fit: Mismatched work cultures or team dynamics may hinder collaboration.
  4. Stressful workplace: Constant pressure or interpersonal conflicts can cause job stress.
  5. General job dissatisfaction: Mismatched expectations or inadequate communication during recruitment can lead to dissatisfaction.
  6. Poor onboarding experience: Inadequate onboarding may cause confusion and frustration.
  7. Lack of appropriate training: Assuming previous experience can lead to gaps in necessary skills.
  8. Lack of relationship building: Infrequent communication with the manager can hinder trust.
  9. Lack of defined expectations: Clear expectations are vital, even if the role seems similar to previous positions.
How to deal with underperforming employees:
  1. Understand the context: Identify reasons behind subpar performance and show empathy towards the employee's situation.
  2. Allow for an adjustment period: New hires may need time to fully adapt to their roles.
  3. See if the employee is trainable: Assess if the employee lacks specific skills and provide training accordingly.
  4. Adjust your recruitment strategy: Review onboarding and training processes to ensure future hires align with job requirements.
  5. Understand what motivates your employees: Learn about the employee's goals and preferences to determine if they are in the right role.
  6. Chalk out an action plan together: Collaborate on a plan outlining specific goals, timeframes, and necessary support.
  7. Let them set their own performance goals: Involve the employee in goal-setting to increase ownership and motivation.
  8. Have regular follow-ups and check-ins: Schedule regular sessions to monitor progress and address challenges.
  9. Recognize progress: Acknowledge improvements to boost confidence and motivation.
  10. Give faster and more relevant feedback: Provide prompt feedback to guide the employee's development.
  11. Make a decision if they continue to underperform: If efforts fail, consider reassignment or termination, prioritizing the team and company's well-being.
  12. Be punctilious about documentation: Document the entire process for future reference and share a summary with the employee.
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Final Thoughts

Addressing underperformance begins with an effective hiring process. Intervue automates resume screening and offers candidate-friendly assessments to ensure the right talent is selected from the start. This streamlined approach improves employer goodwill and facilitates better hiring decisions.

By following these steps and addressing underperformance at its root, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement and ensure their teams are working at their full potential.

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