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A Guide to Dealing with Poor Employee Performance

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Poor employee performance is a massive problem in every workplace and costs the global economy trillions of dollars in lost productivity. When you notice that an employee is underperforming, it's not always easy to know what's causing it, how to recognize it, and what HR can do about it.

While correcting under performance is challenging, it can be worthwhile to ensure all employees meet their contractual obligations and keep productivity levels high. With this information, you may be in a good position to get your business back on track.

How to Detect Under performing Employees

Underperforming employees are not criminal acts that are always easy to detect, such as: For example, falsifying payslips to gain financial advantage or stealing money from a company. There is usually not a single moment when you realize that your employees are not doing as well as everyone else. Instead, you may notice several subtle signs that indicate a lack of motivation or general incompetence over days or weeks.

You may miss appointments or be late for work repeatedly. Employees may also be calling in sick frequently or their quality of work may be declining. Sometimes a simple change in mood can be an indication of poor performance. When your HR department knows the signs of underperformance, you can better figure out how to fix the problem and increase your productivity.

Why do employees perform inadequately?

There is no single reason for employee underperformance. There is also not always an intention behind it when an employee in your company does not do their part. There can be many different reasons such as:

  • You don't know your expectations
  • They were not properly trained for their job
  • They are unhappy in their work environment
  • You don't know the standards in your workplace
  • They don't have what they need to do their job properly
  • You are overworked or burned out
  • You feel unappreciated
  • They are under qualified or inexperienced
  • They are dissatisfied with their role
  • You hired the wrong person for the job

Identifying the reasons for inadequate performance may be necessary to take steps to resolve the problem.

How to solve employee under performance at the HR level

Human resources is often called in to address employee performance issues when a solution is not always clear at the supervisor or manager level. An HR manager can try to solve the problem by first understanding the cause of the problem.

Talk to the employee and find out why they are not meeting their business goals and performing as expected by the company. You may learn that the employee wasn't properly trained, doesn't have the resources, or is struggling with an adverse work environment.

Once you understand the cause, you can put a plan in place to fix the problem. This could include ensuring that employees have the resources to do their jobs correctly, that they receive additional training, and that they agree to a performance improvement plan.

Although it may be tempting to skip these steps and fire the employee, it is an essential part of the process. If the employee's performance does not improve after providing solutions, you have proof that you have done everything you can to help them meet your needs. After that, you may have a better chance of issuing a justified dismissal.

What if an employee's underperformance is widespread?

In some companies there are not just one, but several under performing employees. While you can use the same techniques as above to make improvements, you may find that the common denominator is your business.

Instead of trying to bring your employees into line individually, consider whether non-significant business issues are contributing to poor performance. If you get to the root of the problem, you may have a better chance of improving overall performance.

Ask to speak one-on-one with each employee to find out why they are not meeting expectations. It could be that they are dissatisfied with management's communication or lack the resources to do the work expected of them. If you notice a common theme among all employees, it may be your company's problem and not just the employees' problem.

How to fire an employee

Human resources departments can solve a variety of communication problems, but they won't be able to solve every employee performance-related problem. If you have provided an employee with everything they need to improve and that improvement has not occurred within a reasonable period of time, your company may consider dismissal. Follow these steps to make the process as smooth as possible:

  1. Have all the information you need ready, e.g. deadlines for returning company property, information about how long the employee will retain their benefits and when they must leave your workplace.
  2. Carry out the handover at the right time and place, e.g. in a conference room at a time when business operations are not severely affected.
  3. Make sure you comply with all legal obligations, e.g. Severance payments, notice periods and the reasons for the dismissal.
  4. Make sure the layoff doesn't come as a surprise or shock. Make sure you have made it clear in writing beforehand that the employee's performance is not meeting expectations and give them ample opportunity to improve.
  5. Keep it short and sweet as you don't want to drag out the process any longer than necessary.

Effective HR intervention is crucial in tackling underperformance, fostering communication, and maintaining workplace productivity. With tools like IceHrm, HR professionals can streamline processes and empower employees for success.

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