Advising managers: management of under-performers
Advising managers: management of under-performers

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Advising managers: management of under-performers
  • Reasons for under-performance
  • A manager's responsibilities
  • Ways of motivating under-performers

Under-performing employees can cause a serious drain on management time and also have a knock-on effect on the treatment of other employees:

  1. employees who are performing their job well are in danger of being ignored; this may lead to them becoming less motivated and lowering their performance, or deciding to leave and go somewhere where they are appreciated

  2. those in the middle of the performance spectrum may also be ignored; it is in this group of employees that the greatest potential for overall improvement lies

  3. those who are under-performing are in effect being rewarded, with disproportionate management time and attention

Reasons for under-performance

Some managers, who may themselves be highly motivated, can find it a bit of a mystery why some employees under-perform. In practice, it is unlikely individuals set out to do so. It is important to discover the true cause of the problem.

There is not one simple factor which leads to under-performance. Rather, there are, inevitably, a number of possible contributing factors which need to be explored with the individual, usually in the context of a performance management meeting (see Advising managers: conducting informal performance management meetings for further information).

In preparation for the meeting, a manager may find it helpful to consider some frequently encountered causes of under-performance:

Possible causeNotes
The employee does not know what is expected of him.What

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