The Plan Behind Meeting With an Employee Who Is Performing at Less Than Ideal Standards

August 16th, 2019

Being the boss isn’t easy — especially when you have an employee who isn’t pulling their weight. You’re hoping to correct the issue, so you don’t have to launch a search to hire accountants in Spokane right now, but you’re not quite sure what to do.

A meeting to discuss their performance is on the calendar. You want to let them know you’re serious, without having to walk away feeling like a mean boss. Here’s some advice to help you have a productive meeting that produces positive changes.

5 Tips to Deal With an Underperforming Employee

Identify Specific Behaviors

Get on the same page by explaining exactly what the employee is doing wrong. Leaving any room for interpretation won’t work, because they aren’t a mind-reader. You might think the areas they’ve been slacking in are obvious, but they might not feel the same way. Putting it all out on the table is the only way to move forward.

Give Them the Floor

A conversation about poor performance should be a two-way street. There’s a reason the person isn’t meeting your standards, so finding out what that is — i.e., inadequate training, being overworked, or problems at home — can allow you to easily nip it in the bud. Having a voice in the matter will make the person feel heard, so they’re less likely to be defensive.

Don’t Make it Personal

The issue you have with the employee is their poor performance — not them as a person. Make this clear by focusing on the behaviors you’d like to see changed, instead of assassinating their character. For example, instead of calling them lazy, explain that the rest of the team is frustrated that they have to do extra work because they’re not pulling their weight.

Create a Clear Action Plan

You can’t expect the employee to change on their own. Help them reach the standards you desire by setting S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound — goals. This will leave no room for interpretation, allowing them to know exactly what they need to do to improve their performance.

Set Consequences

Let the employee know what will happen if they fail to achieve the S.M.A.R.T. goals you’ve set for them. Knowing there will be consequences for falling short of these objectives should inspire them to clean their act up and really get to work.

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