Whether your employee has been there for ten days or ten years, you need to take immediate action when their work performance begins to suffer. Sometimes it’s worth working through it and other times its best to let them go.
One client recently shared his struggle of trying to work with a poor performing employee:
“We had a team member for a while, let’s call him Tom. Tom was smart and enthusiastic and we were excited to have him on board. After a while though, it became apparent that he wasn’t delivering on the projects he was assigned. He would disregard the specifics of an assignment, creating more work and frustration for the people who were counting on him.
“I tried to make it work. We had conversations about where he needed to improve and even tried him on new projects, but he continued to perform poorly. The final straw was when we brought in a new manager and we watched the pattern play out again, while sucking up too much of the manager’s time. Tom was eventually let go, much to the relief of the rest of the team.”
As a manager, having an underperforming employee on your team is not acceptable. It brings down team morale and can cost you thousands in wasted time, opportunities, and resources.
When to make it work with an underperforming employee
If there is an internal distraction such as a conflict with a colleague, work with them to solve the problem. If the distraction is external like a death in the family, consider allowing them time off to take care of their personal responsibilities. Most often, emotional distractions are one of the few temporary causes of underperformance.
They don’t feel valued by coworkers and/or management
When an employee doesn’t feel valued or needed by the team, they will disengage from their work. Figure out what motivates your employee—is it affirmation after a project? Feedback? Freedom for personal expression? When you make your employee feel essential, they will be more committed to the company and willing to contribute to its success.
They didn’t receive the proper training
In this instance, it’s less about the employee’s capability to do the job. Instead, it’s about ensuring they have the right tools and resources to do the job well. Your employees all learn differently. Some need to visually see things while others process information better by listening to you speak.
When to cut ties with an underperforming employee
They lack the skills for the job
For any position, there are non-negotiable tasks. You can’t have a sales representative with poor customer service skills or an accountant who hates working with numbers. If the essential function of the job cannot be done, it’s best to cut the employee loose.
In our client’s case, he was lucky to have the flexibility to try Tom in different areas and projects. However, most employers can’t afford to use up valuable time and resources training an employee on different roles.
They’re unhappy with their work
If your accounting assistant realizes that she doesn’t like working with numbers and spreadsheets all day, it’s not doing anyone a favor by dragging out her employment. Give her an opportunity to find work she enjoys and give someone else a chance to work with your team.
They just don’t care
Though uncommon, there will be some employees who are content with doing the bare minimum no matter what. They don’t see the value in hard work or contributing to the big picture. Unfortunately, no incentive or improvement plan will change this employee’s performance for long.
If it’s time to let go of that employee who just isn’t cutting it, we can help you find a replacement or someone to fill in temporarily. Contact us today to learn more.