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How to Handle an Underperforming Employee with Compassion

One of the most uncomfortable dilemmas a manager can face is how to deal with an employee who isn’t meeting expectations. You need to address their performance so they won’t drag fellow employees down. On the other hand, employees aren’t robots who can simply be reprogrammed. They need compassion and coaching to correct their course. Take these steps to give underachieving employees the best opportunity to succeed.

Helping Your Underperforming Employee

Identify Underlying Issues

It’s one thing to recognize an employee isn’t meeting production goals. It’s another to go past the ineffective results and locate the obstacles that stand in the way of achievement. Perhaps the employee doesn’t have the resources or knowledge they need to get the job done. Maybe they’re feeling unmotivated due to burnout and a lack of recognition. It’s also possible the problem isn’t work-related; instead, the employee may be facing challenges outside the office, such as strained relationships at home.

To properly diagnose the problem, speak to the employee in a spirit of compassionate collaboration. This doesn’t mean sugarcoating the fact that the employee is turning in subpar work. Be honest, but also emphasize that you’re meeting with the employee not to punish them, but to help them be the best version of themselves. Then, figure out a way forward – together.

Reset Expectations

To provide an underperforming employee with a fresh start, make sure they leave your meeting with a clear idea of what their responsibilities are and what expectations they need to meet. This may just involve recapping their current duties, or it may entail shuffling responsibilities. Either way, give the employee clear marching orders.

Set Performance Targets

Ask the employee to complete a job with a measurable outcome, such as a deadline or a pre-determined accuracy rate. By giving them a set of SMART goals, you’ll set the stage for them to build confidence and competence.

Mega Force Is Here for You

Whether you’re looking for more management tips or you need to step up your recruiting efforts in North Carolina, Mega Force can help. We’re staffing experts, and we work hard to meet your needs with handpicked talent. Start your candidate search today.


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