When it comes time to delegate a task or project to a member of their team, managers already know which employees—and, transitively, which personalities—are most likely to actually get it done. Perhaps a manager might turn to a workaholic on their team, or they might look to a new hire who’s anxious to prove their potential. Conversely, managers also know which members of their team are not ideal candidates to take on extra work, especially the underperformers: These are the employees who may not like their jobs, who may not be equipped for their jobs, or who simply can’t be bothered to follow through on their responsibilities.
Of course, everyone has bad days and might make mistakes or be less productive as a result, but chronically underperforming employees—especially those who are just apathetic—will drag down your entire team’s morale and efficiency. Since this situation can be difficult for managers, take a look at strategies you can use to help deal with underperforming employees.
Establish Clear Standards
It’s all but impossible for employees to meet and exceed expectations if they don’t know what those expectations are. For this reason, approach your underperforming employees and lay down clear standards for their role and their work. Additionally, setting standards creates an opportunity for you to explain the importance of the job they do for the rest of the company as well as for their peers; this can inspire greater effort because if employees recognize that their performance affects others, it may compel them to improve that performance.
Consider a New Role
Each individual has a set of innate attributes or natural talents that heavily influence how well they will function in certain roles. These attributes can help to explain the underlying reasons behind employees’ poor performance by indicating that they simply may not be well-suited or even capable of completing their tasks. Therefore, the next time your employees have lingering problems with their productivity or quality of work, try to determine their attributes and see if you can transfer them to a position that more closely aligns with their strengths. This may not always be possible, but if it is, reassigning employees can help them to produce higher-quality work.
As Jeff Boss points out in his recent Forbes article, sometimes questions are more valuable for the insight they provide into someone’s thought process rather than for the answer itself. Ask your underperforming employees questions to uncover possible reasons why their work misses the mark. For example, if an employee can’t explain why their work didn’t satisfy expectations, that may be a sign that the employee just doesn’t care about their job and isn’t a good fit for your team.