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Handling Poor Performers
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

Almost everyone wants to succeed at work. Employees usually try to do a good job, and when you as a department manager find that a particular employee is not measuring up, the problem will usually be resolved with additional instruction or coaching. Occasionally, all that is needed is a tap on the shoulder & in this a case a candid discussion with the "problem" employee about the performance problem.

Unfortunately, occasionally an employee simply will be incapable of performing the job duties assigned to them. If the company is large enough, and the performance problem stems from aptitude rather than attitude, it may be possible to transfer the employee to another position where his or her skills and talents would be a better match. Another possibility is that the employee may need to be terminated if their performance does not improve.

At risk employees deserve:

  • To be told about managementís concerns in private

  • To be given specific goals to achieve

  • To be given a reasonable timeline in which to make the needed improvements

  • To be told how and when their performance will be measured, and finally

  • To be told the consequences if their performance fails to improve within the
    time frame established & specifically termination of their employment.

One final thought:
Managers that fail to terminate poor performers after giving them adequate warning are acting irresponsibly. These managers risk alienating other employees who will almost certainly recognize that the substandard performer is receiving special consideration. Co-workers may quickly become resentful of the fact that they must handle the work the unsatisfactory employee is not completing.

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