The question ‘how do I handle an under-performing worker?’ crops up regularly in my management training conversations.
Here’s 4 key steps to help turn around an under-performer:
1. Some managers hope the problem will magically disappear! More often it does not and sadly gives the impression to other team members that their manager is ‘burying their head in the sand’. You need to act straight away and an informal approach (PEG action plan) maybe the way forward initially.
2. Arrange to talk privately with the employee. Use the following PEG formula – explaining exactly what the Performance problem is, being totally clear about ‘what good looks like’ in terms of company standards Expected and in what way they are falling below the standards expected (the Gap).
3. You need to action plan and to enable the team member to have reasonable time, tools and opportunity to turn the corner. This may require providing further training or coaching on your side. Review the action plan at agreed key mini milestones to avoid later surprises on either side.
4. If performance has not improved since the timescales set out in your (PEG) action plan, then you need to commence the formal organisational procedures to go through the company disciplinary procedure. You will issue warnings, ending in dismissal if improvement is not demonstrated. You must accurately follow the company policies and procedures! You have to have provided the under-performer information on your company appeal procedure and their rights throughout.
Do act immediately. If you think the problem will go away, it usually does not and things may get a whole lot worse for you and your team!