The Poor Performer. Underperformance. #NewToHR

The Poor Performer – Underperformance

There is always one in every office. No matter what day it is, it seems they can never step up to the challenge.

Whether it is poor customer service or failure to complete tasks on time, the troubled employee is one that is always close to receiving that red card. It is likely that the team will take a quarterly look at pruning away some of the underperforming employees in order to keep the company moving forward. Before officially confirming such a decision, you are responsible for evaluating their overall position.

Since companies are moving toward an employee-friendly culture, HR is tasked with much more than just agreeing or disagreeing with management!

First, take the time to understand why, exactly, they are underperforming.

  • Objectively look at the tasks they have been given to determine if they are impossible.
    • Sometimes the employee is good, they just have a bad fit with the position and would do better in another department.
  • Even more importantly, there could be external factors influencing their behavior.
  • Speak with the employee to find out their side of the story and be willing to be lenient.
    • Sometimes the best thing to do is offer a second chance.
  • If, however, the bad work continues, there may be no justification for moving forward with the process.

Remember to take any personal bias into consideration.

As a representative of HR, it is your duty to be impartial, however we are all human (and are naturally inclined to choose favorites).

In these cases, it is easy to start picking out every little fault as a reason to terminate employment. If you feel this way, remove yourself from the decision!

Otherwise, find out if they did not understand the work expected of them.

Directions can often be unclear, the employee may see a complete a project or task, whilst the manager sees it as missing the mark entirely.

Honesty and clarity are vital to stopping underperformance.

If the employee is never notified about their work and performance, they can never take the steps necessary to improve their situation. Human Resources is designed to foster a healthy culture and caring about the workers is a large part of that.

Do not hold a conference to tell someone they are being fired when they never even knew they were under observation in the first place (it is not what HR signed up to do and it is illegal!). Only after a clear, honest discussion can you then decide if the low quality of work was a fluke or is something more.

Firing an employee is never an easy thing. With today’s guidelines, it is even harder to terminate someone over one mistake.

People Operation teams have worked hard to support the integrity of the workers, and if one comes ‘under attack‘, the team must work harder to see if the possible termination is a legitimate request or not.

After openly communicating and helping the individual, the request might be written off in favor of retaining a talent that had merely hit a rough patch in their life!

© New To HR


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