Top Ten Tips for Managing Poor Performers

Posted by Robin at 5:12 PM on Jun 1, 2011


Poor performers in the workplace cost our businesses, public services and charities millions of pounds every year and very often it continues unchallenged until the employee leaves of their own accord or is made redundant - which can be a very long time in some cases.

Here are the Top Ten Tips we've put together to help you move your under-performing employees towards meeting the grade.

There's no time like the present for getting this going...

  1. Hold frequent performance check-ins with all of your employees – weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly meetings will prevent a performance problem creeping up on you and help you nip it in the bud long before it takes hold and becomes a major issue
  2. Be courageous – sometimes we would rather not confront the issue for fear of the consequences but, far more often than not, the financial costs and impact to team morale of not dealing with the problem are much greater than those where it is managed
  3. Know your organisation’s poor performance or capability policy – these policies should be based on the latest legal requirements and as such will provide you with a safe legal structure for tackling the issue
  4. Differentiate whether it’s a will or a skill issue – poor timekeeping, negligence and laziness are matters for your disciplinary policy and not poor performance/capability
  5. Find out what’s causing the problem – very often there is an underlying reason for the poor performance that you are witnessing and sometimes that reason can be something beyond the control of the employee such as unclear objectives or a lack of co-operation from colleagues
  6. Identify the skills that need developing and what the minimum acceptable standard looks like – being specific about what you are trying to fix and telling your employee how you will know when they are performing at the right level is critical if any performance improvement plan is going to have a chance of working
  7. Build the performance improvement plan using SMART goals – breaking it down like this will make it crystal clear where your employee’s performance needs to be, that it is reasonably achievable by someone at the same level as them and by when it needs to have changed
  8. Review the plan frequently and provide plenty of coaching support – regular updates on progress with the plan will ensure that the training and development interventions are having the desired effect and your coaching support will make all the difference in helping your employee get closer to the mark that is expected of them
  9. Be honest when the plan isn’t working – nobody is helping anybody when we brush issues under the carpet for the future to deal with and dealing with the pain early will give the performance improvement plan a much better chance of success
  10. Stick to your poor performance or capability policy – as with any action in employment that could eventually lead to dismissal it is critically important that you uphold certain rights such as the right to be informed in writing of a formal meeting and the right to be accompanied at that meeting by a fellow employee or trade union representative

Looking to get the best out of your people?

Whatever your people challenges or opportunities are, we can help. Give us a call on 01273 251152, email us at get-in-touch(at) or click below to get us to contact you at a convenient time.

More From Us

News Articles

Robin Hall HR becomes Inspiring People HR
We've changed our name so that 'it does exactly what it says on the tin!' Find out more about why we're changing here.
Prepare your Business for Brexit Uncertainty
Uncertainty is the only near-term guarantee with the Brexit vote. What can you do to insulate your business from the mayhem around us!?

Inspiring Ideas

Killing the Sunday Night Blues with Meaning
How finding the Meaning Conference helped me with my mission to kill off the Sunday Night Blues and how it could help you find purpose and direction at work too.
Meaningful Work Matters to Your Business Success
Why is meaningful work so important and what can you, as leaders, do to help your people connect with the meaning that is important to them?
Top Ten Tips for Managing Poor Performers
The Top Ten Tips to help you help your people make the grade