Have you noticed that your employees are underperforming? For the most part, underperformers continued to feel that they were performing very well. While you know they’re in trouble, as a manager, you are certainly on your own when faced with this problem.
According to INSEAD management professor Jean-François Manzoni in his writing, “Set-up-to-Fail Syndrome: Overcoming the Undertow of Expectations,” the company may have a prescribed way to treat underperformers, but sometimes the processes are not very helpful. Chances are it’s up to you, as a manager, to decide what to do about it.
Worse still, an underperforming employee on your team may not realize they have a misconception about their performance. Again, it will be up to you to help or drop the ball. But what if the reasons are a lack of resources, feedback, or, worse yet, they are in difficulty?
According to a TriNet study, 74% of millennials feel ‘in the dark’ about their job performance and how they could improve. A Mercer study also found that 65% of employees want more defined roles and responsibilities.
No matter what the cause, the more you fail to address these unconscious underperformers, the more likely you are to lose what could be a valuable team member.
Not taking care of it means that the work of the slow-working employee will not get better. And the worst chance is that you will also lose the value of a team member who could exactly flourish if you give them adequate support.
How Can Managers Spot Under-performance?
Under-performance is when an employee performs tasks below the required level that has been established and expected. Some of the many examples of underperformance include:
- Underperformers do not carry out their duties or functions to a high standard.
- They disobey work policies and procedures, such as not logging their time correctly.
- They misbehave and negatively affect others on the job or team.
- They engage in certain destructive behaviors such as showing up for late meetings, gossiping, and leaving the team in a difficult situation due to a missed deadline.
These are common issues that leaders need to keep an eye on to determine if performance is falling behind. What behaviors can managers identify to know that their employees are performing poorly? Some trends may point to low employee performance:
Goals and objectives are constantly left out.
It is impossible to hit a target significantly. People can’t always hit the target. But something is wrong if an employee is not consistently successful in reaching a target.
Employees are not living up to business values.
If a fundamental value for a company has been established, but employees do not subscribe to it, they are not embracing a corporate culture of customer service.
The lack of teamwork.
A couple of employees who don’t get along can derail business sooner. Gossip, conflict and the general unwillingness to work with others will kill productivity.
Taking advantage of other members
Leaders must realize that underachievers can be marked by how they still rely on their colleagues more than they should. They are always trying to get out of their responsibilities.
They are disregarding the corporate rules.
Absenteeism, disengagement and other chronic disciplinary issues can be considered poor performance. The more these problems show up; the more productivity goes down.
Constructive Feedback as a Key Tool for Underperformers
It may be challenging to provide feedback to an employee whose performance is unsatisfactory, but it may also be critical. Clearer feedback and more careful supervision can help them grow. Feedback may mitigate an adverse effect and pave the way for a successful career in the organization.
Since 65% of employees want more established roles and responsibilities, something must be clarified between them and their work. Also, 72% of Harvard Business Review survey respondents felt that their performance would improve if their managers provided corrective feedback.
A LinkedIn survey showed that over 75% of respondents indicated that feedback is valuable for their work. Supporting this, TruQu, through its study, found that 76% of employees want at least monthly performance reviews as feedback.
Managers, the thing you want is to mentor them to improve their performance while ensuring their morale is not crushed, right? Constructive feedback is key to ensuring that the employee’s performance immediately improves for the sake of the team and their own.
Managing underperformers Through the Performance Management
We know that effective feedback truly matters. Effective feedback is also critical to the program of performance management for underperformers. According to a Performance Management survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson’s, 98% of respondents felt that performance management was necessary. But only 64% reported having a practical approach to developing a process.
Once managers have given feedback to their underperforming workers, they must look ahead to identify, plan, and monitor performance management issues–to prevent a recurrence. And this is their job:
Use detail Information
When contacting your employees to create an improvement action plan, give concrete details about how expectations couldn’t be met back then. Make sure it’s away from other people’s hearsay or gossip.
As a leader, you need to have data on how the employee is performing. It’s good to keep things as they are.
Hear from Your People
Consider the reasons your employees failed to perform. There is no excuse for this behavior, but it may help you better understand why it might happen. It allows you to reveal whether the problem is a personal or work-related stress problem.
Work Collaboratively to Find a Solution
Once you have identified the issues and discussed them with your employee, you should work together to develop an improvement plan. It is the best training strategy for underperformers.
Try to clarify every expectation. A development plan should also address how an employee can start achieving the objective. This pair may create progressive stages which lead to maximum growth.
Review the Improvement Plan’s Progress.
You should establish two types of milestones. First, there should be a fixed period to determine how long it takes to solve the problem. The second is when you and your employee get together again to assess the progress of the new expectation.
To help your under-performing employees reach their targets again, here are the things you need to think about as a leader:
Make sure all goes well on your side.
To avoid confronting employees because of a breach of the agreement, you should ensure that you have communicated the information correctly. If the information you provide is unclear or your direction confuses your employee, it is not the employee’s fault.
Always keep an eye on it.
It will be easy if you keep a consistent record of their progress. Have the person contact you regularly or set a date and time in the future to verify progress.
Keep emotions off the table.
Anger is a normal human reaction to unfulfilled expectations. But nothing goes anywhere by transforming the tide into an emotional situation.
Finally, it’s about finding a solution. Leaders should not enter the conversation angrily or get caught up in one of them.
Focus on employee engagement
Performance may fail due to a significant reduction in engagement. Managers must prioritize employee autonomy, creativity and training and build a culture that promotes bottom-up and top-down feedback.
Managers, accepting that your employees are underperforming can seem frustrating. It takes time and can bring down other members of your team. But letting it heighten your losses with no further action to solve the trouble can also create a bigger problem. Then what’s your next move?