Employees are the biggest asset to any organization. They are not only critical for day-to-day operations, they are also responsible for giving an organization its competitive advantage. Organizations that have learnt the art of managing their workforce have experienced high levels of productivity and operational efficiency. One of the most common growth barriers that continue to bother organizations is under-performance. Let’s face it! Working with an under-performer ranks as one of the most difficult challenges any manager comes across – whether your under performer consistently produces poor work, repeats the same mistakes again and again, or just feels like dead weight on the team; poor performance is a road blocker in the journey to productivity and must be given utmost attention.
In simple words, under-performer is the one whose performance is below average or below expectations. There are many reasons why a person (s) could be under performing. This could vary from unclear work expectations, insufficient training and knowledge base, to lack of attention by the manager to help them scale up.
Identifying the Under Performer
Employee performance is subjective and it is important to measure underperformance against certain criterias. Different organizations have different ways of looking at it. Some look at measuring it against schedule compliances while others look at measuring it against output. Irrespective of the methodology used, the first step is to identify the underperformers and then dive down to understand the gaps.
Productivity tools play a very important role in providing objective data to understand underperformance. Some of the ways in which you can identify these employees are as follows:
- Understand their contribution to work that matters to the business most. If they are not spending enough time on work related activities, chances are they may not be complying with organization work expectations
- Visibility on work load patterns also will help managers understand underutilization levels. Employees who are constantly underutilized may show signs of not performing up to the mark
- Understanding time parameters in terms of time leakages and idle time can also help in detecting underperformance. 9 times out of 10, employees who have high time leakages and idle time are also employees who rank low in performance.
- Understanding production levels is the easiest way to detect underperformance. Non compliance to meeting targets continuously is an obvious sign of things going south.
- Additionally correlating time with output data can give a new perspective to highlighting gaps in performance.
Helping an underperformer.
- Understanding the pain points
The first and foremost step to help an underperformer would be to identify the reasons behind his underperformance. Often employees underperform because they lack the necessary tools or their core capabilities do not align with the skills required to complete the activities of the job. Understanding individual strengths and weaknesses will go a long way in helping a manager devise measures to improve performance.
- Setting clear expectations
A recent Gallup poll found that only half the employees worldwide strongly agree that they know what’s expected of them at work, because managers aren’t communicating their expectations frequently or well enough to their staff members. Managers should communicate clear expectations to get the expected results from their employee.
- Regularly monitor their progress
Interest in the work of your employees can significantly boost a company’s culture and morale. Always follow up with employees after a discussion on performance to monitor progress on agreed performance goals. This will help managers take quick course corrections before it is too late.
- Giving clear feedback
Communication is key. Managers should have regular one-on-one meetings scheduled with each person in the team to provide constructive feedback. Letting the employee know where he/she is falling short off is a good way to keep a check on underperformance. If underperformance continues, address this behavior early so that your underperforming employee knows you are serious.
Disengaged, unfocused and under performing employees can sap the life from any business. It is important to manage them and improve them continuously to achieve high operational efficiency.