Managing Poor Performance – Turning Things Around

For a business, it is vital that employees perform their jobs to a good standard. However, not many people would willingly own up to poor job performance – indeed, they are sometimes not even aware of it.

Managing poor employee performance can be difficult. Generally, customers who buy our services and products will provide feedback if performance is below their expectations. It is up to us to listen, evaluate what we hear, and take appropriate action that meets everybody’s needs.

Firstly, good managers should ensure that their employees:

  • Are motivated.
  • Have a clear understanding of what is required.
  • Work effectively as teams or individuals.
  • Understand their contribution to the success of the business.
  • Are recognised and rewarded for good performance.
  • Are proud to work for the business.

Then, take these steps to deal with potential performance issues:

  • Examine the evidence. Review any information available, observe the work process, and take into account customer or client feedback.
  • Establish change. Set out with the employee:
    • The issue(s) of concern.
    • The change or outcome required by setting out agreed objectives.
    • The duration of performance improvement process (maximum 3 months).
    • The frequency of performance improvement meetings.
    • What may happen if they fail to meet the performance required.
    • Rights of representation and appeal.
  • Acknowledge improvement. At each review meeting, acknowledge any improvements and draw attention to areas where the employee failed to meet the required standard.

At the end of the performance improvement process, indicate whether they have either fully met the requirements of the process or failed to meet them. If they have met the requirements, no further action is required. If they have failed to meet the required level of performance, this issue will now be dealt with under the formal provisions of the disciplinary procedure.


For more advice on dealing with poorly performing employees, contact us on