How to effectively manage underperforming employees

Companies need to act quickly to address underperforming employees so that they can maintain the highest standards of productivity and quality. Poor performance can lead to a variety of problems both for the company and the individual employee, such as decreased morale, decreased efficiency, strained working relationships, and increased risk of litigation.

Taking the necessary steps to properly address and manage underperforming employees can help to prevent these problems from occurring, and can also help to ensure that all employees are meeting the company’s standards of performance.

Managing underperforming employees can help to create a more positive work environment, and can also be beneficial for the company’s bottom line. It is important for companies to not only identify underperforming employees quickly, but also to take immediate action to address them. If you have an employee who isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s important to take action. Here are some tips for effectively managing underperforming employees:

  • First, try to identify the root cause of the problem. Is there a specific skill or task that the employee is struggling with?
  • Once you’ve identified the problem, sit down with the employee and explain your expectations. Be clear and specific about what you expect from them.
  • Help the employee develop a plan to improve their performance. This could involve additional training, mentorship, or some other form of support.
  • Finally, set a timeline for improvement and check in regularly to see how the employee is progressing. If there’s no improvement, you may need to consider taking disciplinary action.

It is important to understand why and how an employee is underperforming before taking any actions, as this will ensure that the actions taken are relevant and effective. Taking action without proper understanding of the situation can make the situation worse.

By understanding why and how an employee is underperforming, a manager or supervisor can better assess the situation and make informed decisions on how to address the issue. The information gathered can help to identify potential causes and solutions, as well as any underlying issues that may be contributing to the employee’s underperformance.

Additionally, understanding the situation can provide insight into how to improve performance in the future and avoid similar issues in the future. Taking the time to understand why and how an employee is underperforming is essential in ensuring that the help provided is effective and useful.

1. Clearly define expectations

In order to effectively manage underperforming employees, it is important to first clearly define expectations. This means setting clear and specific goals for what you expect employees to achieve.

Without clear expectations, it will be difficult to manage employees effectively and hold them accountable for their performance. Additionally, employees need to be aware of the consequences of not meeting these expectations.

By setting clear expectations and communicating them to employees, you will be well on your way to effectively managing underperforming employees.

It is vital that line managers receive the proper training and guidance in order to effectively communicate clear expectations to their subordinates. Without this, it is difficult for those employees to meet those expectations, as well as for the manager to assess the progress of their team.

Furthermore, having an understanding of how to effectively set expectations will help to create an open and collaborative environment, as expectations will be more clearly defined and understood by all. Consequently, this will lead to higher levels of engagement and productivity, which can have a positive effect on the overall workplace culture.

2. Monitor employee performance

If you have employees who are not meeting your expectations, it’s important to take action to help them improve. One way to do this is to closely monitor their performance.

This will help you identify any areas where they need to improve, and you can provide feedback and coaching as needed. Additionally, monitoring employee performance can help you identify any patterns of underperformance, so you can address them accordingly.

It is vitally important for businesses to properly and timely monitor and document employee performance. Doing so helps to ensure that employees are held accountable for their work and that employers have a clear understanding of how their staff is performing.

This can also be beneficial in providing feedback to employees, allowing them to understand what areas of their performance need improvement, and in providing a basis for making decisions about promotions, raises, or termination.

Additionally, proper and timely documentation of employee performance can help employers to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Lastly, proper and timely documentation of employee performance helps employers to track progress and to understand which strategies are most effective in helping employees reach their goals.

3. Offer coaching and feedback

If you have employees who are underperforming, it’s important to take action to address the issue. One way to do this is to offer coaching and feedback. This can help the employee understand what they need to work on and give them the opportunity to improve.

In order to offer effective coaching and feedback, you need to be clear about what the issue is. You should also be specific about what the employee needs to do to improve. Finally, you need to be supportive and encourage the employee to keep working towards their goals.

Coaching is an invaluable tool for helping employees to reach their full potential and improve their performance. By providing support, guidance, and feedback, a coach can help employees to identify and overcome obstacles, recognize and build on strengths, and develop the skills they need to succeed.

Coaching can also help to motivate employees, boost morale, and foster greater collaboration by providing a safe and supportive environment to discuss challenges and identify solutions. Additionally, coaching can help employees to build their self-confidence, foster better communication, and create a sense of accountability.

Ultimately, coaching helps to create a more productive, successful, and engaged workforce, thereby leading to improved performance.

4. Analyze employee strengths and weaknesses

One of the most important things you can do as a manager is to analyze your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to put them in positions where they can be most successful, and it will also help you to identify areas where they may need improvement.

There are a few different ways you can go about this. First, you can simply ask them directly. This can be done in a one-on-one meeting or in a group setting. Second, you can observe them in the workplace and take note of their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, you can have them take a skills assessment test.

Once you have a good understanding of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, you can start to develop a plan for how to best utilize their skills. This will help you to create a more successful and productive workplace.

Managers have to focus on developing the strengths of the underperforming employee because it can bring a number of beneficial outcomes. By investing time and effort into helping the employee understand and improve on their strengths, you can create a more successful and productive employee.

Doing so will also help them to better understand their areas of weakness, which can be worked on and improved. The benefits of this effort will be realized sooner than if the manager instead chose to focus on the employee’s weaknesses first, as the employee will be more engaged in the effort and be more likely to make positive changes.

Additionally, by focusing on strengths, the manager can create a more positive work environment for the entire team, which can lead to better morale and productivity.

5. Offer additional training or resources

If you have an employee who is struggling to meet your expectations, it’s important to take a proactive approach to help them improve. One way to do this is to offer additional training or resources. This can give them the tools they need to improve their performance and help them get back on track.

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re providing clear and specific feedback to the employee. This will help them understand what they need to work on and where they need to improve. If you can effectively communicate your expectations, you’ll be much more likely to see a positive change in their performance.

Underperforming employees should receive mainly on the job training, as this can be a more cost-effective approach than sending them off-site for a course or seminar. On the job training allows the employee to learn everything they need to know in a familiar environment, and the company can ensure that their training budget is not being wasted on an employee who may not be able to absorb the material.

Furthermore, the employee can receive more individualized instruction from supervisors or colleagues who know what their particular needs are, and how to help them improve their performance. This can also provide an opportunity for the employee to develop further skills in areas that they may not have been aware of before. On the job training can be an effective way to help an employee reach desired and required improvement.

6. Set goals and deadlines

If you have an employee who isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s important to set goals and deadlines to help them get back on track. This will give them a specific target to aim for and a timeframe in which to achieve it.

Be sure to communicate these goals and deadlines clearly, and provide support and resources as needed. If the employee still isn’t meeting your expectations after this, then you can consider other disciplinary action.

Goals need to be reasonable and achievable, and they should be set in accordance with required minimum performance standards. In order to ensure that these goals are met, they should be realistic and appropriate to the task at hand.

Additionally, they should be measurable, meaning that they should have clear criteria for success and failure. These criteria should be easily understood and tracked, so progress can be measured and adjustments can be made if necessary.

Additionally, goals should be timely, with a specific timeline for completion. This will help ensure that progress is made in a timely manner and that deadlines are met. Finally, goals should be relevant and meaningful, so that they can provide focus and motivation.

7. Provide incentives for meeting or exceeding goals

If you want to effectively manage underperforming employees, you need to provide incentives for meeting or exceeding goals. This could include financial bonuses, paid time off, or even just public recognition.

The key is to make sure that the rewards are meaningful and that they motivate the employees to improve their performance.

The manager must consider the implications of internal equity when recognizing the efforts of an underperforming employee. It is essential for the manager to evaluate the comparative efforts and performance of all employees in the organization.

When recognizing an underperforming employee, the manager must take into account the contribution of their peers and the impact that recognition may have on their morale and productivity. It is also essential to ensure that the recognition is fair and equitable, and to consider the implications of the recognition on the organizational culture and reward system.

Furthermore, the manager must evaluate how the recognition will be perceived by other employees, and take steps to ensure that they remain motivated and productive despite the recognition of an underperforming employee.

8. Document performance issues and conversations

If you have an employee who isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s important to document performance issues and conversations. This will help you keep track of the problem and identify any patterns.

Performance issues can be difficult to address, but it’s important to be clear and concise when you’re communicating with the employee. Be sure to document all conversations, so you can refer back to them if necessary.

If you’re having trouble managing an underperforming employee, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you’re documenting performance issues and conversations. This will help you keep track of the problem and identify any patterns. You can also try meeting with the employee regularly to discuss their progress, or setting up a performance improvement plan. If you’re still having trouble, you may need to consider termination.


There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to managing underperforming employees. First, it’s important to have a clear and concise performance plan in place. Second, be sure to give regular feedback, both positive and negative. Finally, be prepared to take disciplinary action if necessary. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your underperforming employees are managed effectively.