Managing Poor Work Performance

We all know that on occasion an  employee’s work performance can suffer. This can happen for a variety of different reasons, from ill health to lack of job application i.e.“the cannot be bothered attitude”, to not having the skills to undertake the role.

So what do you do...

Managing poor work performance has never been and will never be an easy thing to do. However it is important to remember the effects that not managing poor work performance can have on other employees, like de-motivation and conflict between employees.

Factors to consider and tips to manage poor work performance:

  • Your first step is to make sure that you deal with the employee’s poor performance in line with your practice’s Managing Work Performance Policy, and that you deal with all employees consistently.

  • How long has the employee been underperforming? Has the poor performance resulted for a single incident, or have there been a number of incidents over a period of time?

  • Has the employee been given the required training to enable them to perform to the required standard? Review the employee’s training record; if appropriate training has not been given ensure this training is provided to enable the employee to work to the required standard.

  • Are the necessary resources available to enable the employee to perform in their role? Once a review has taken place, if the lack of resource is beyond the employee’s control the manager should make adjustments to enable them to work at the required standard.

  • Does the employee understand what is expected of them? Check the employee understands what is expected of them.

  • Are there any personal or workplace issues which are contributing to the employee’s [poor] performance? These may include;
    - Interpersonal conflict/workplace bullying
    - Workplace / personal stress

Any of the above could contribute to change in an employee’s workplace performance.

  • Arrange to meet with the employee. Allow the employee to prepare for the meeting by asking them to give responses to following questions before the meeting:
    - What part of your role do you find easy?
    - What part of your role do you do well?
    - What part of your role do you find most difficult and why is this?
  • Reach an agreement around the poor performance to develop an understanding of what might be causing the poor performance.

  • Agree performance objectives, these should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time specific) objectives. The objectives should be set which are realistic and achievable ensuring that the employee understands what is required of them.

  • Once the meeting has concluded the outcome should be sent to in writing to the employee along with a copy of the objectives.

Managing poor work performance early can often stop the issue from escalating into a formal process.

Please note the above guidance is of a general nature. It is important that practices ensure policy guidelines and contractual obligations are followed.

In addition to the above FPM members can obtain further information via the FPM website. Alternatively members can also email specific questions about employment issues to advice@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk where your question will be treated in confidence and will normally be answered (by email) within 2 working days of submission.

Information from ACAS, Personnel Today and the CIPD website has been used within this article.

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