Best Practices for Dealing With an Underproductive Employee

In an ideal world, every member of your team would come into the office each day and give their jobs 100% effort, but it doesn’t usually work that way. It’s disappointing when an employee fails to perform at a level you know they’re capable of, because you want to believe everyone is committed to the lasting success of company.

Additionally, an underperforming employee’s workload doesn’t vanish with their work ethic, so the rest of your staff is left to pick up their slack. You need to deal with this problem quickly, because ignoring it will cause major rifts among the team.

4 Ways to Deal With an Underproductive Employee

Address the Issue Head-On

Talking to an employee about their lack of productivity isn’t fun, but it must be done. Take the person aside for a private conversation to discuss their less-than-stellar performance. Be specific with the issues you’ve noticed — i.e., failing to meet a sales target or not pulling their weight on certain projects — because you don’t want to leave any room for misinterpretation.

Get to the Root of the Problem

Give the person the floor to explain their side of the story. It’s easy to assume laziness is the reason for their poor performance, but that isn’t necessarily the case. They might not have the proper training to do the work in front of them or their responsibilities could be unclear. You won’t be able to work with the person to make a change until you know what’s going on, so be willing to dig deep.

Devise a Plan for Improvement

Simply telling the person to try harder won’t work. To really see a difference you need to set goals that promote positive changes. Make them S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound — because anything else is too vague. Make sure they understand exactly what you expect from them and the consequences they’ll face if they fail to deliver.

Carefully Monitor Performance

By now it should be crystal clear that this employee cannot be left to their own devices, so keep close tabs on them. Meet with the person regularly to chart their progress and see how things are going. This will serve the dual purpose of letting the person know you’re watching, but also cheering them on to success.

Underproductive employees require a lot of attention. Get more time to focus on your staff by joining forces with ECS. Contact us today to learn about our employer-of-record system, professional payroll services, and independent contractor management services for companies of all sizes.

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