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Workplace performance issues rarely fix themselves. Ideally, you need to identify them before they magnify into major problems. At the very least, you need to reel them in, bringing employees and teams back to maximum productivity.

Causes of Underperformance

When considering how to rectify poor performance, begin by identifying its underlying causes. This will help you determine the proper course of follow-up action. Consider these questions:

  • Was an employee’s underperformance due to overly difficult tasks? Low aptitude, skills or knowledge? Overwork?
  • Have you made all job-related expectations crystal clear?
  • Was the employee poorly matched with the job in the first place? Or, were they promoted into a position too demanding for them?
  • Are there any outside influences affecting a person’s ability to perform?
  • Has there been effective communication between the employee and their managers and team members?

How to Overcome Performance Shortfalls

Once you’ve identified the root cause of a performance problem, you may want to consider the following interventions. Address each one through a one-on-one performance interview.

  • Focus on the resources needed to do the job. Does the employee have what they need to perform well and meet expectations? Listen for points of frustration. Note where employees report that support is lacking, and verify their claims with your own investigation.
  • Provide additional training. Explore with an employee whether they have the actual skills required to do what is expected of them. Especially as technology changes so rapidly, it can be easy for skills to become obsolete.
  • Refit the job to the person. Analyze the individual components of the work, and try our different combinations of tasks and abilities. This may involve realigning the jobs of other employees, as well. Your goal is to retain high-potential people, to meet business needs, and provide rewarding work to everyone involved.
  • Consider a reassignment. If revising or refitting the job doesn’t work, look at possibly reassigning the poor performer. If you take this approach, make sure the reassigned job is still challenging and stimulating. Never use demotion as a punishment tactic.
  • If all else fails, let the employee go. If there are no opportunities for reassignment, and refitting is not appropriate for your organization, the best solution may be for an employee to find other work. Remember, there are potential negative consequences of keeping a poor performer after you’ve exhausted all the available options. You risk disengaging other team members or promoting a belief that you’re willing to settle for mediocrity. You may waste valuable time and resources, and signal that some employees deserve preferential treatment. None of these scenarios fare well for your team or your business.

The recruitment and workforce development experts at PrideStaff Fresno can help you develop the most effective process for employee evaluation, improvement plans, handling terminations and turnover, and other steps related to optimal performance management. Contact us today so we can set up an informational meeting.

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