10 Effective Ways to Deal with Poor Employee Performance

As humans, we don’t always reach the highest productivity level and deliver the best performance. But when your employees start to deliver repeated poor performance, and you do nothing to deal with it, things can get ugly.

If someone’s performance constantly doesn’t match your expectations, don’t worry, you can still turn things around. Here are 10 ways to help you deal with poor employee performance.

1. Question yourself

Some employers may assume that employees perform poorly because they lack the motivation or skills. But the reasons can be simple. Employees either don’t understand what you expect from them or don’t know that they’re underperforming.

So, before making any judgments, make sure you’ve communicated your expectations towards your staff, what is considered poor performance, and the consequences of it.

You should also evaluate the effectiveness of the training sessions you’ve offered. See if they’re enough and well-organized. Provide more educational tasks and training opportunities if needed.

2. Build up better trust

If employees perform poorly not because of their technical ability, you can build up trust between you and them to boost their morale.

Show your trust by letting staff know verbally, through meetings, or in private conversations. 

It’s necessary to prevent poor employee performance right from the beginning. Let employees know that underperformance causes major consequences and isn’t welcomed. Trust goes with responsibility.

3. Conduct performance reviews

Constructive performance reviews are important once you have records of your employees’ underperformance.

You can’t give vague feedback such as “You’re doing a bad job” as it does nothing but hurt.

Let employees know clearly what their mistakes are, how their performance is affecting the company. Show detailed figures and records if necessary, but be careful, you’re not conducting interrogations. 

To avoid misunderstanding, deliver a specific message and let them know your expectations, in a way that they can thoroughly understand. Use constructive phrases to make the best use of these review sessions.

4. Change employee attitudes

It’s important that you understand the personality and working attitudes of each employee.

current poor performance is temporary, and can be improved if they enhance their productivity, strive to learn new knowledge and skills, or build up conversations with fellow workers.

Encourage them to shift their attitude a bit in a more positive way to improve their performance.

Try to lead discussions to focus more on problem-solving instead of judging. Emphasize their strengths and positive points. Be open, honest, and sincere, and employees will feel it.

5. Set clear deadlines

Sometimes, setting clear deadlines will enhance productivity and solve poor employee performance.

Once you’ve assigned tasks to your employees, don’t just talk about your expectations of their performance.

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time allotted”. That means your employees can stretch work when there’s no deadlines, resulting in a waste of time and poorer performance.

Give specific dates so employees can get the job done efficiently on time. 

After that deadline, it’s also time to evaluate your employees’ performance. Peer reviews within specific timeframes are an objective way to spot problems in employee performance.

6. Deal with ineffective employees as soon as possible

If you don’t speak to an underperforming employee immediately, you’re sending the wrong message that their performance is acceptable. This will set a terrible precedent for that individual and other team members. Don’t wait too long to raise performance concerns with your employees.

There’s a huge difference between those who continually perform poorly and those who have just recently performed worse. If they’ve worked well in the past, you need to ask them (and yourself), “What’s going on?”.

Find the reason and support your staff if you can. And if your employees are always ineffective, you can think about finding someone to replace them, but have some constructive conversations first.

7. Keep a close eye on employees’ progress 

Once you’ve assigned a task or shift to an employee, make sure you keep a close eye on their progress. See if they’re absent too much, late for deadlines, leave tasks unfinished, etc.

It’s also important to keep records of your employee performance for easier management. You can jot down notes about their work results and attitudes, or use tools such as Camelo to track employee attendance and tasks.

8. Have tough conversations

If poor employee performance keeps occurring time after time, you need to be assertive about it. This will let the staff know you take this problem seriously and you don’t ignore it.

This also will create an impact on other employees as well. Sometimes, hardworking employees feel unfair if they see irresponsible people get away with no penalty or feedback from management. 

9. Recognize once they’ve made progress

Who doesn’t love to be recognized and rewarded? If employees show they’re making efforts to change, don’t forget to recognize and reward them in time.

This will help increase motivation and make employees more accountable for the job. Simple phrases such as “Thank you”, “Good job” also go a long way. 

10. Consider putting things to an end

Letting someone leave your business is usually seen as the last resort. But if an employee continues to work ineffectively and cause negative results, you can terminate that employee.

Retaining employees with poor performance can lead to reduced morale and poor job quality, which affects your whole business.


Dealing with poor employee per­for­mance can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. You can quickly act on it and find the best solutions to ensure your business operation.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.