You will, on occasion, have an employee who is underperforming. What can you do about this?

6 steps to take when an employee is underperforming:

  • Step 1: Find out if this is a case of can’t do as opposed to won’t do. 

In a nutshell, a ‘can’t do’ is capability, but a ‘won’t do’ is conduct. 

If it is a ‘can’t do’ then address the situation with training; however, if you encounter a ‘won’t do’ then a more focused approach with possible disciplinary action may be needed.
Whatever the situation, you need to do something, so please get in touch for further guidance.

  • Step 2: Are there any health or disability concerns? If so, then you definitely need professional guidance to navigate yourself through this. HR is very adept at dealing with these issues, so again, please do get in touch so you do not fall foul of the law by your actions.
  • Step 3: Are there any personal or work-related factors? Do you need to consider varying or adjusting things in the workplace? Do you need to consider flexible working or a different approach?
  • Step 4: Managers should keep a note of all the times they have ‘had a word’ whether formal or informal, as evidence is needed when you are tacking non-performance and may be needed to support any actions that you take.
  • Step 5: A fair process has to be employed, especially with employees with over 2 years’ service, and a formal performance improvement plan may need to be implemented.
  • Step 6: Know when you can dismiss and make sure you are following the law and your own policies to avoid a claim. Seek professional HR support before taking action.

HR support is invaluable in performance management

Performance management always involves difficult conversations, and your managers may not feel comfortable having these at all or having them on their own. This is where leaning on HR support is invaluable.

Please give us a ring, as underperformance by even a single person will hit the bottom line, cascade onto customer service, and be a moral issue for the people in the team who are performing and may well be carrying the underperformer.

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