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Help for small firms

How to get the best out of your staff: A step-by-step guide

How to get the best out of your staff - Step 6

Dealing with unsatisfactory performance

You have clear objectives the employee has not met. They've had the right level of coaching and training to reach the right level of skills and knowledge, they've agreed that way forward, you've given regular feedback and held appraisals.

So what do you do next?

  • Be clear you understand the problem by asking and finding out:
    • how long has it been going on?
    • what's the root cause?
    • are they capable of meeting their targets or unwilling?
    • is there a pattern of poor performance?
  • Even at this stage, it can still be worth a manager having a quiet word with the employee. This can sometimes resolve the problem over their performance, as there may be underlying personal issues you are unaware of.
  • But, if that doesn't work, you have followed all the other steps, and still the employee is underperforming, you should look to also handle it as a disciplinary matter.
    • For a guide on how to do that, go to Managing discipline - Investigation to possible dismissal: A guide, another online tool in this series.
    • But be clear, your aim should be to improve future performance rather than punish past performance.
    • If you do have to go down the disciplinary route, then any outcome to improve performance will have to be discussed at any regular feedback meetings and the appraisal.
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