When I visit companies and speak to Managers, I commonly hear them complain about poor performers bringing down their overall performance and how they can’t do anything about it.
Sorry Managers, but you can do something about it and there is really only one person to blame if the problem persists…
Basically, when you have people who underperform, you pretty much have 4 options.
1. You can address the poor performance with the staff member
Whether it is a measurable issue (your productivity is 75% and the target is 95%) or a behavioural issue (you are often rude to colleagues) you need to address it with your staff member. You need them to acknowledge that performance is below expectation and you need them to come up with actions that are going to help them improve. Then you need to follow up regularly and in most cases, the performance will improve – hooray!
2. You can help them to find a more appropriate role in the organisation
OK. So you might have a case of square peg – round hole. Hey, it happens. If they are really not suited to the role and no amount of performance management is going to get them there, find out what they are good at and see where they might be a better fit in your organisation. Don’t just dump them in whatever role was available and make it someone else’s problem though (that’s mean).
3. You can exit them from the organisation.
No, I can’t! HR won’t let me. We’ll get sued. Sound familiar…? You can totally let someone go for poor performance. If you do the first 2 steps properly and can clearly evidence all the steps you’ve taken to help the person improve their performance, there is really nothing to stop you from letting someone go.
4. You can stop complaining about the underperformance, lower your targets and get on with it.
If you’re not going to do the first three steps, then you need to stop complaining about poor performance because you are not willing to do anything about it.
In every organisation I visit, there are known underperformers who have been in the organisation for years. When I look at the outliers of performance and mention it, I always hear the same excuse. We’ve been trying to get rid of them for years but our hands are tied.