What to do when an employee underperforms

There are few things more satisfying for a business owner, manager or entrepreneur than having a team of employees that work efficiently and harmoniously together. When every member of your team meets their goals, business grows and makes your life easier. However, when a team has more underperforming employees, it can derail your business goals.

No matter the reason, when a The employee begins to underperform at work, your business is damaged all around. Not only do they negatively affect productivity, but they can also affect the morale of the rest of the team. Like an array of dominoes, a motivated employee can influence the attitudes of their colleagues and your customers.

Disengaged employees can be a frustrating problem for leaders. However, it is important to remember that every employee has the potential to improve and contribute to the company’s success. It’s important to take action as soon as possible so you can keep your business strong.

By taking a proactive and compassionate approach, managers can help underperforming employees reach their full potential. Doing so will help contribute to the company’s success. In this article, we explain what to do when you have an underperforming employee.

1. Identify the problem area

The first step to solving this problem is to note where your employee is failing to meet standards. Some employees naturally excel in certain areas but may struggle with other tasks. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your employees opens up a great opportunity. You are better able to match employees with jobs that fit their natural abilities.

It is important to be careful Signs that an employee is underperforming. For example, if an employee struggles with customer interactions but delivers great results “behind the scenes,” they may simply need to change roles.

An employee who performs well, but is inconsistent, may struggle with problems in their personal life. There are many reasons here The only way to find out why a normally hard-working employee might be disinterested in work and why is to communicate.

2. Start a discussion

Start a personal, one-on-one conversation with your underperforming employee. To ease into the conversation, try starting by acknowledging the areas of their work where they perform well. From there, you can transition into talking about their flaws. Make sure to keep an open mind and listen to them.

Even the simple act of starting this conversation can make a huge difference – when employees are offered clear communication, workplace productivity has been shown to increase. Up to 30% increase.

This conversation should be centered around the goal of improving your employee’s performance at work, not punishing or shaming them. Get this: Statistics say 67% of employees Those whose managers focused on their strengths were fully engaged in their work, compared to only 31% of employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses. You don’t have to sugarcoat the situation, but you should aim to motivate your employee, not discourage them.

3. Clarify expectations

Needless to say, unclear expectations can create problems in the workplace. During discussions between you and your employee, make it a point to go above and beyond workplace expectations.

Sometimes, employees begin to underachieve because they are not regularly pushed to do their best. Indulging once in a while can easily become a habit if left unchecked. And as a business owner, it’s your job to prevent that from happening. Sometimes, creating a tangible reference for your expectations such as a list or chart can help keep employees on track.

4. Giving assurances

Conversations about workplace performance can be daunting for employees. If you notice tension building around the conversation, or if your employee seems uncomfortable or nervous, try to ease their anxiety with some gentle, positive reassurance.

Let your employee know you’re having this conversation because you value them as a team member. Reassure them that you want to improve your professional relationship with them. Remind them that they are not in danger of being fired, but that you are here to help. This creates an extra layer of trust between you and your employee. It also lets them know you’re in their corner.

5. Create action plans

There is no better way to achieve future success than by making a plan and following through. If an employee has been underperforming for a long period of time, you can create a PIP, also known as a Performance Improvement Plan.

A PIP is an outline that details how you and your employee can work together to improve their performance. It identifies problem areas for the employee. As well as the goals they should try to reach within an agreed time frame.

Here are some steps that can be included in a PIP:

  • Identify specific areas of performance that require improvement. This could be anything from attendance, productivity or specific skills.
  • Meet with the employee to discuss performance issues and gather input on possible solutions.
  • Develop specific, measurable and achievable goals for the employee to work towards. These goals should relate to identified areas of improvement.
  • Set up regular check-ins with the employee to track progress and make necessary adjustments to the plan.
  • Once employees meet goals, evaluate their performance and determine if any additional training or development is needed.

It is important to remember that PIPs are intended to be a supportive and developmental process. Be clear, honest and respectful with the employee when discussing performance issues and developing plans.

6. Coach and follow up

Don’t leave your employee out to dry after making a tough decision. Instead, make sure to follow up and check in with them after the conversation. If you create a PIP or other improvement plan together, take the time to assess where they are and how they can be successful.

Effective coaching means engaging in the work improvement process. You don’t want to overwhelm your staff or add unnecessary stress. But you should try to play an active role in their planning to perform better. Sometimes this means redirecting them when they seem confused, changing their current project, or otherwise providing managerial support.

Coaching your employees in person is shown Increase productivity by 70% At the personal level. Being involved in your employee development progress means huge benefits for everyone involved and for your business.


An underperforming employee doesn’t have to mean the end of the world – or your business. With effective communication, proper coaching and patience, you can help motivate them to get back on track.

Also read:

Why is it hard to find good employees?

8 Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy

Ari bratisis

Tim Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington State.

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Article Tags:

Business Opportunities · Featured · Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leadership · Productivity · Your Mindset

Article Category:

Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Lead Your Team · Productivity · Your Mindset

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