You have big goals. You’ve worked hard to get to this point. You’ve hired an assistant or maybe even a team. Now, you notice not everyone is performing at the same level or the level you expected. Now what?
What Do You Do With an Underperformer?
Let me first offer you the fundamental core belief that everyone wants to perform well at their job. Whether you’re a business owner, real estate agent, or administrative professional, everyone wants to succeed. The road to success and achievement, however, is often rocky and under construction.
That’s where you come in.
If you’ve noticed that a team member is underperforming, you need to address it as soon as possible.
Make sure to have documented specific instances where performance goals were not reached, and expectations were not met. Providing examples and illustrations of specific instances will allow the team member to reflect on each incident uniquely.
Before the meeting, reflect on the following questions:
– Did we provide adequate, detailed, focused training and materials relevant to the position?
– Did we clearly outline the expectations of the position and tasks, how they should be executed?
– Did we “inspect what we expect” and follow up on this periodically?
– Did we outline the timeline for reviews, evaluations, feedback, and suggestions?
– Did we follow through on those outlines, if so, how?
– Did we make sure that we communicated clearly what the repercussions would be should underperformance ever occur?
– Do we feel like the team member is knowingly underperforming?
Knowing the answers to these questions and where your organization stands on each will either provide you an opportunity to outline areas of growth & improvement or will provide the reinforcement and reassurance that you are effectively covering all your bases.
Addressing the Problem
Arriving at the conversation with an attitude of curiosity, concern, and confidence in place of accusations, threats, and assumptions sets the tone for a true conversation to take place.
As a business owner, the dialogue between you and your team member should be one of education for both parties. Together, you’ll be able to outline a plan of action to improve their performance.
First, identify any areas where they feel additional training may be needed. Identify what their true motivation is, what their goals/aspirations look like long term, and how you want to journey alongside them to get there.
Provide them with reinforced clarity of what your vision was for their career when you hired them. This could be a true game-changer for the way they show up daily!
Next, give your employees insight into where you as a leader see them growing in the business, and what you envision their role to be as your growth expands. Tell them that you appreciate their ability to grow with you and work out the growing pains as you go, but also tell them what you expect from them in the future.
Lastly, give them (in writing) a date (or dates) where you two will check in to evaluate performance, review improvements, and discuss any barriers or struggles they may come across.
By communicating your expectations clearly, you are allowing your team members and their actions (or their lack of efforts), to decide whether you continue your business growth with them.