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Dealing with underperforming employees

By Igigu Lesizwe Consultants,
It is important in the first place to understand that there are various factors that cause underperformance. Some are personal and others motivation-related, whereas some are technical (skill-related).
Managers must therefore approach underperformance with some empathy. The most important thing for managers is to deal with it when it is first discovered – do not be tempted to ignore, hoping it will solve itself.
Here are a few tips:
• Communication: tell the employee what you are observing and ask them to respond and tell you why that is the case. It will save you months of pain…
• Clear expectations: make sure that you have very clear expectations set for all your employees. They must know what to do, when, how, with whom and what is expected in terms of reporting on progress. This way, they will be the judges of how well or how poor their performance is.
• Make time to listen to their concerns. Sometimes employee underperformance could result due to overwhelm and high volumes of work to get through. Find out what it is and be prepared to adjust work allocations, work times, etc. It is more important to achieve employee happiness than get more work out in the short term.
• If underperformance is due to lack of training – arrange for this or allocate a coach to impart the necessary knowledge, with timelines and clear goals to be reached.
• If underperformance is due to personal reasons – arrange for the necessary support, advice or just listening and pointing in the right direction. Some employees do not come from solid families and so, do not have anyone to talk to. They would really appreciate a caring ear.
• If underperformance is due to lack of interest – then communicate expectations and set timelines for their achievement and what improvement you want to see and by when. Then monitor and provide feedback. If this continues and no improvements are evident, provide that feedback and indicate that disciplinary action will follow if lack of improvement persists.
Try these for now – you will be well on your way!
If in doubt – shout.
Just because…. We love entrepreneurs!!


Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity. Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them. Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS. Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.

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