Managing People – Dealing with a failing employee
So you have someone in your team that you think is letting you down. You can see that things are not working out as you expected. They’ve been around a while and things used to be fine. Now it is clear to you and other people that all is not well. What do you do?
First establish the facts. What is the evidence that performance really has changed and can you be certain that this team member is at fault?
Talk to the employee. Explain your concerns and any performance information you have gathered. Ask for their perspective.
Be fair, be open and be prepared to listen.
- Do they accept that performance has fallen?
- Are there factors inside or outside the organization that are affecting their performance?
- Is there a health or family problem?
- Do they understand the standard you expect?
- Are they prepared to make a change?
- Are there changes that you or others should and could reasonably make that will mean performance improves?
If the failure is down to the employee and there are no extenuating circumstances, within the bounds of employment law, you have choices to make. Much will depend on the reaction to your intervention.
If the employee accepts the failure and makes a commitment to improving their performance , apart from monitoring, there may be nothing further you need to do at this stage.
If performance does not improve, you will need to intervene again. You may need to coach the employee for a while and arrange some further training.
If that fails, you may need to impose closer supervision and move into disciplinary procedure and possible dismissal.
What matters most is that you intervene early – don’t let a bad situation just get worse.
- Act early
- Act always in good faith
- Be willing to be open minded.
- Collect evidence and be objective
- Be clear about the standard you expect
- Check that the employee understands your expectations
- Reward progress with praise.
- Keep records through-out
- If you do have to dismiss, make sure it comes as no surprise
But it is in your and their interests to give them a fair opportunity to make an improvement. Bringing an employee back on track is good for them, it is good for you and it is certainly good for the organization in terms of morale and use of resources, provided your intervention is in proportion.
Dealing with failing employees is never easy and the more prepared you are the better. If you are a manager struggling with failing employees, a management training course or advice from a coach or mentor can help you learn the skills you need to really excel in the workplace and deal with all kinds of challenging situations.
If you need to the support of a coach in dealing with a failing employee, please get in touch
Other useful articles
- Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
- Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
- Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
- Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage
- Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage
- Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage