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        In the past, you managed your business based on what you knew. Whether it was through experience or studying other businesses, these impressions helped you navigate past inevitable roadblocks and grow your business.

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        Times are changing, however. Many businesses are being disrupted by small startups or companies leveraging the latest and greatest technologies. No matter the sector or niche, the game has certainly changed.

        Considering this, how can you maintain your competitiveness and grow your business in these new times?

        Ultimately, the success of any business comes down to people.

        Even if you have the best product or service in your niche, an underperforming team will find it much more difficult to reach its goals On the other hand, even if your product or service isn’t the greatest, a stellar team can dramatically increase your odds of success.

        Therefore, in this post, we want to discuss two important ways that you can help you bypass competitors and reach your business goals. They are (1) how you can manage your underperforming team members and (2) some signs that can help you determine whether someone isn’t right for your business.

        How to Better Manage Underperforming Team Members

        To start, let’s talk about how you can better manage some of the underperforming individuals on your team.

        Granted, these situations can be difficult for both you and the underperforming team member. The underperforming colleague likely wants to perform better, but he or she simply hasn’t been able to do so. As for you, you may be trying your best to improve your colleague’s performance, but the results simply aren’t there.

        So what can you do? While there are plenty of options on your menu, several strategies can be extremely effective.

        The Power of Feedback

        For one thing, provide frequent and honest feedback. This is one of the most direct and efficient ways of bolstering your colleagues’ performance. Whether it occurs in a formal review-like setting or occurs in a more ad hoc manner, direct feedback is essentially a prerequisite to bolstering an underperforming team member’s performance.

        When sitting down with your underperforming colleague, include both positive and negative feedback. Make sure that you are being specific on what your colleague is doing well and not-so-well. Also, try to focus on patterns. Prioritising patterns over solitary instances ensures that you aren’t succumbing to recency bias.

        These are just some things that you should consider when delivering feedback. Even though feedback may not result in an immediate correction, consistently offering comprehensive feedback can help elevate your colleague’s performance. 

        Offer Additional Training

        From feedback, consider providing additional training to the underperforming employee. This is most effective if the employee is underperforming due to poor technical performance. In other words, training may not be the most effective option if the employee is underperforming due to a lack of motivation.

        For those employees that are simply underperforming on a technical level, additional training sessions can shore up their weaknesses. The employee can set aside time to understand how they are underperforming and is given a road map on how they can better perform their duties and tasks.

        Embrace Mentorship Opportunities

        Finally, mentorship opportunities can drastically improve an underperforming employee’s performance. In some situations, an employee may be struggling because he or she is unmotivated. That employee may be unmotivated because they don’t understand how their current work can help them reach their career goals.

        In these situations, assigning a mentor can be massively beneficial. Clearly, you will need to find the best mentor for that particular employee. But once you identify that mentor, he or she can provide a wealth of value. From helping the employee overcome key challenges in their work to creating actionable steps to reach their career goals, mentors can play a substantial role in supporting and encouraging the underperforming employee.

        Whether you have a formal mentorship program or want to assign a “silent” mentor, don’t hesitate to leverage the power of mentorship.

        Bring in Someone New

        Finally, you may want to consider bringing in someone new. No matter the size of your organisation, one talented person changes everything.

        Even if the struggling employee had potential, the simple reality is that some underperforming team members need to be let go. It’s nothing personal; rather, you’re looking out for the health of your business.

        A new hire can be an absolute game-changer. He or she can not only bring relevant skills and experience, but that new hire can bring the mindset and attitude that can utterly transform your organisation. The long-term gains can be extremely enticing.

        How to Determine if Someone Isn’t Right For Your Business?

        Those four strategies can go a long way in helping you better manage underperforming colleagues. All of that said, what happens if the underperforming employee doesn’t respond to any of those strategies? Even if you don’t try to help your colleague through the strategies above, how can you tell whether an employee isn’t right for your business?

        For many companies and managers, it comes down to a gut feeling. They can sense that there isn’t a good fit, so they quickly remove or terminate the employee.

        If you are looking for more tangible signals, however, there are several things to monitor.

        A Pattern of Disengagement

        First, be on the lookout for employees who have been disengaged for quite some time. It’s inevitable for all of us to feel disengaged at certain points in our work lives. Whether it is from difficult work assignments or challenges in our personal lives, we can’t be constantly engaged with our work.

        However, if you see an employee being disengaged for weeks or even months at a time, it may be a sign that there is a poor fit. That employee may simply be uninterested in their work, a particular manager, or the company as a whole. The signal is even stronger if you have been working to improve their performance and have seen little (if any) progress.

        Outbursts or Moments of Frustration

        Compared to disengagement, outbursts or visible frustrations are much more overt. If they occur frequently (or even somewhat frequently), this may be a red flag and a sign that your colleague isn’t a good fit.

        Let’s face it: all of us have had moments where we are unsatisfied at work. We may even be blunt toward a colleague. This isn’t necessarily a sign that you (or a colleague) should immediately leave the organisation. However, if this happens quite often, seriously consider whether that colleague is right for your business.

        A Lack of Progress

        Finally, watch for employees that don’t progress even after you attempt to offer help. Whether you provide customized employee training or assign a mentor to the struggling employee, a lack of progress or improvement can signal bigger issues.

        Ultimately, you may need to be patient. Progress and improvement don’t happen overnight. However, if you have seen little progress thus far and don’t expect substantial progress in the future, you may want to consider drastic measures—like terminating the employee.

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        The success of any business comes down to its people. Yet while your business may have some star performers, there may be others that are struggling. Because of this, don’t hesitate to implement any of the four strategies above. And if they don’t work? You may need to take more aggressive measures (like bringing in a talented and motivated new hire).

        In the end, you can grow your business and solve your hiring challenges by working with us. To learn more, feel free to click here.

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