Performance Management

How Do You Deal With Poor Employee Performance?

In a company where good results are sought, all employees must perform well. They have to perform at their best, but the question is whether they are or not. Poor performance lowers productivity and costs your business more money. How you deal with poor employee performance can therefore become a deciding factor.

Poor performance is a situation in which an employee has only partially met their goals or failed to meet them at all. This situation can be due to several reasons. A good manager must therefore be able to identify the causes in order to be able to manage this poor performance.

Cause of poor employee performance

Managing poor performance is first and foremost about identifying the causes in order to provide the appropriate solutions. So what could justify the poor performance of your employees?

Employee demotivation


Demotivation is one of the main causes of poor employee performance. Not being engaged in your work or doing it without enthusiasm does not allow its good development. When your employees are not engaged in their work, you will always feel it on your bottom line.

Personal difficulties

They can be related to the employee’s difficulty integrating or keeping pace. At this level it is important to distinguish a difficult employee from an employee in difficulty. A difficult employee will be one whose performance is unsatisfactory or whose behavior is unacceptable according to your standards and your corporate culture. An employee in difficulty will therefore be one who has real problems often related to lack of resources, lack of skills and other real situations. The approach to helping these two groups of employees will therefore not be the same.

Professional accidents

They can be explained by the fact that an event in the employee’s personal life periodically influences his performance or that the employee lacks resources, tools or adaptation training for a job that has evolved. In the first case, it could be a work accident, a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, a permanent state of stress, a conflict within the team or sudden changes.

The lack of balance between role and performance

Assigning an employee a task they lack the skills to can be a serious problem. Not knowing your employees’ capabilities and assigning the wrong tasks to the wrong person or not training your employees to better perform their roles makes them counterproductive.

Manage poor performance

The manager’s role is to lead the team to success and therefore to be able to manage poor performance in order to achieve it. Your employees won’t always be what you want them to be. In case of poor performance, you need to know what to do and what not to do.

What has to be done?

Know your employees

Employees are those to whom you entrust the objectives of your company and therefore its destiny. It is very important to know your employees in order to know who can or cannot carry out a certain task, who needs follow-up and who needs training. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your employees, know the challenges they face and provide solutions.

ProTips: Conduct specific review cycles to understand your team’s attitude, behaviour and performance to give useful feedback. At this point asking the right questions becomes paramount. A good recommendation is the 360 degree feedback tool with so many question templates to access.

Manage on a daily basis

Taking stock once a month or once a year is not enough. 80% Of Employees Prefer Immediate Feedback To Annual Reviews. You need to be there whenever your employees need you. Weekly or daily check-ins should be part of your organization. It is not about wasting time every day following your employees, but about learning about their progress and their problems. Such an interest in their work can only motivate them and make them more engaged.

ProTips: Conduct regular one-one-one meetings with your subordinates. This shouldn’t be so crude and exhausting, use a 1:1 meeting tool to plan, schedule and keep track of all meeting sessions in your team.

Plan for performance improvement

A plan to improve performance is one way to help your employees develop to their potential and improve. This plan should allow you to identify the sources of difficulties, to put in place accompanying measures and to define the criteria for evaluating progress. You must focus on the strengths and development needs of your employees.

training employees

Train and equip your employees

It is essential to organize training for your employees. Your employees can be very engaged and brilliant, but they still need empowerment. Before you assign new tasks or positions to your employees, you need to train them for it or make sure they have the resources to achieve the desired results. 

What you should not do

Telling an employee he’s bad

It is better not to put a label on an employee that you need. Telling an employee that they are incompetent can cause them to actually be so. You are the manager so you need to know that your opinion and approval means a lot to your employees. So avoid pushing them to the wrong side.

Focus only on the objectives

Your goal is to achieve the goals you set, but you should not put aside those who help achieve them. Achieving your goals depends on the involvement of your employees. If you pressure your employees to get the results you want without considering their needs, you risk losing your employees and your goals. Employees need to be able to keep up and feel good about their jobs.

ProTips: Practice the OKRs methodology to define challenging and ambitious goals with measurable results. This is done collaboratively. It gives team members the autonomy to define personal goals and contribute to the growth of their company. They can easily know if they are aligned with the top level goal and track their progress. Use an OKRs tool to make life easier. 

inaccessible manager

Be inaccessible

You don’t have to be the always busy type of leader who has time for nothing. You also don’t have to be the leader employees fear to talk to or raise their problem with. You don’t have to be a deaf tyrant. Your employees need to know that they can talk to you about their problems without fear. They need to know that you are on their side and not the other way around.

Be discriminatory

Discrimination is what causes disgust and disengagement from employees who are victims of it. You should not make some employees feel like they count less than others or don’t count at all. A manager must be impartial and accept everyone equally.

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