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Is an Employee Underperforming? Here’s What You Can Do

Having a one-on-one with an employee who is not meeting their expectations in their role can be a challenge among HR professionals and managers. Whether it addressed during a performance review or a separate meeting, it should hopefully serve as a productive means of improving their focus, skills and overall competence.

Being properly prepared with the specific details of their performance and expectations are essential to a productive meeting. The topic of conversation may not be the most optimistic at first, but by clearly understanding where an employee could improve and following certain guidelines, you can turn a negative situation hopefully into a positive one.  

  • Talk to the Them ASAP

It’s not difficult for any seasoned manager to recognize an employee is struggling in their role. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests its best to arrange a meeting with the employee much sooner than later. In some cases, an employee may be aware of their underperformance, and are possibly expecting such a meeting to take place. So, by delaying the meeting, they could possibly use that to their advantage and allege an unlawful action through a lawyer. In the event the discussion needs be delayed, document the planned meeting and include what is involved, and why it had to be postponed. 

  • Hear Them Out 

No one likes to hear bad news about their work performance. Nonetheless, they may have good reason for not meeting their responsibilities, and perhaps a sound solution can be made moving forward. So, be sure to hear them out or find the source of the problem.

  • Document Everything 

While it’s important to document why the meeting was postponed, it’s ten times as important to document everything that was discussed. In the event that the employee is terminated and a wrongful dismissal lawsuit results, you’ll have the meeting on company record. From using formal guidelines, stating company policies, and explaining expectations, to outlining consequences and getting a signature are just some of the aspects to document.

  • Be Clear on The Company’s Expectations

The SHRM also recommends that the employee is made aware of their expectations, clarify what the problems are, set specific objectives (that may involve some further training) and then arrange a date to discuss progress. On a final note, the meeting should conclude on a positive note, which may provide some added diligence to their role and overall performance. 

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