6 Effective Tips for Managing Underperforming Employees

The American workforce has undergone a seismic shift in the past few years. When it comes to performance, underperforming employees present a special challenge. How can HR and managers address and improve the work of underperforming employees with Performance Management software?

Communicate regularly

The first thing to assess is the frequency of your communication. For most businesses, a weekly check-in with a team leader should be routine, but daily check-ins allow for managers and teams to be the most aligned. While you shouldn’t surprise workers with an unscheduled calls, emails and other communication, respond to emerging issues between meetings is critical.

When communication is too infrequent, employees become disconnected from the daily goals and lose sight of objectives. When performance slips and there’s no response from management, employees might get the impression that the official expectations weren’t noticed or aren’t a high priority, making them more likely to repeat the mistake.

Clarify expectations

All employees, whether in-office or remote, are subject to myriad distractions. It can be easy to misunderstand or forget the goals and expectations that were mentioned in a meeting, call, or video conference. Where misunderstandings are possible, give your employees the benefit of the doubt, but make sure they understand exactly what is expected of them.

Some projects naturally involve deadlines and key information being discussed multiple times. Try sending a follow-up email documenting important expectations, such as requirements and deadlines. Planner and workflow software can also be useful in assigning work with clear deadlines.

Be specific about issues and always invite input

A missed deadline may seem self-explanatory, but it’s important to discuss behavior patterns and important performance incidents. Try to distinguish between the deadlines that actually affect the success of the business versus internal reporting deadlines that may actually be more flexible or even arbitrary.

When pressed for time, your best employees will know how to prioritize the work that’s actually critical for the business. When you’ve identified a problem, especially if it seems to be part of a recurring pattern, make sure to give employees a chance to thoughtfully respond.

Listen to the problems of underperforming employees

Productivity shortfalls need to be addressed, but managers also need to make adaptations for various circumstances. When meeting with employees, managers should get to know their team personally, as more than just workers. An open dialogue and greater comfort between the two will make for much more fruitful conversations and likely boost performance as everyone is on the same page.

Develop new skills and resources

 Managers and individual employees need ongoing training to improve skills, performance, and job satisfaction. Productivity should be more paramount for all employees. Self-help training and time management resources can also help remote workers improve their own productivity.

Adapt the review process

Performance reviews can provide useful information for quantifying employee engagement. When you adapt the review process for remote workers, you’ll be able to see communication issues and patterns that may be obscured by other differences between on-site and remote employees.

It is important to provide positive reinforcement and recognize the achievements of employees. Whatever technology solutions may be possible with your company, employee reviews provide excellent opportunities to better understand and support workers.

With underperforming employees, the problem can’t always be addressed as easily as issues with on-site staff. Where casual check-ins are routine in the workplace, your managers cannot casually stroll through the home offices of remote employees. The differences require a subtle but significant shift in management philosophy and equipping remote employees to manage their own time more effectively. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for remote work, addressing the challenges head-on can build stronger communication channels and a more resilient workforce over time.